Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi on Thursday apologised for his remark about a woman journalist when he was asked about Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P.J. Kurien’s role in the Suryanelli sex scandal case.
“I am sorry for the comment. I have already conveyed my regret for the remark to the TV channel in which the journalist works,” Mr. Ravi said.
When the woman journalist asked him about Prof. Kurien’s alleged role in the case, Mr. Ravi said nothing would happen to her and asked her whether she had anything personal against the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson. He went on to ask the journalist, “Did he (Prof. Kurien) do something to you?’’ sparking an outrage among scribes.
The Minister said he had called up the journalist and apologised for the comment. “I have been misunderstood. I always joke with journalists. There is nothing deliberate. Everyone took it as a joke,” he claimed. The Bharatiya Janata Party slammed Mr. Ravi for making the remark and demanded a public apology from him. “We condemn the behaviour of Vayalar Ravi towards a lady journalist. It is extremely unfortunate that he has misused his authority and position to intimidate a journalist who was only asking a question which fell within the ambit of her professional responsibility,” Bharatiya Mahila Morcha chief Smriti Irani said.
Mr. Ravi’s behaviour was a matter of ‘‘deep concern,” she said demanding a public apology from him, and not just to the individual but to the nation as well. She said Mr. Ravi’s conduct did not instil confidence among women about their safety and security. — PTI