Former Karnataka Speaker apologises for insensitive comments on rape

Congress MLA Ramesh Kumar promises to ‘choose my words carefully henceforth’

December 17, 2021 12:03 pm | Updated 06:43 pm IST - Bengaluru

Congress MLA Ramesh Kumar, who was Speaker in the Assembly of Karnataka (2018-19) when he made his first insensitive comment about rape.

Congress MLA Ramesh Kumar, who was Speaker in the Assembly of Karnataka (2018-19) when he made his first insensitive comment about rape.

 

Former Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar, whose flippant comment on rape on the floor of the House on December 16 had drawn flak, has apologised.

In a tweet, he said: “I would like to express my sincere apologies to everyone for the indifferent and negligent comment I made in today’s assembly about rape. My intention was not to trivialise or make light of the heinous crime, but an off-the-cuff remark! I will choose my words carefully henceforth!”

 

On December 16, when Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri expressed helplessness about not being able to curtail the long speeches of members, Mr. Kumar had said, “There’s a saying...when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it. That is the situation you are in too.”

Mr. Kageri had laughed loudly in response. None in the House had objected to Mr. Kumar's comment or Mr. Kageri’s response.

All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Randeep Singh Surjewala, had disapproved of the remark.

He tweeted: “Congress party disapproves the highly objectionable and insensitive banter between Karnataka Assembly Speaker & Sr Congress MLA in the House. Speaker as custodian & Sr legislators are expected to be role models & should desist from such unacceptable behaviour.”

Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: "I wholeheartedly condemn the statement made earlier today by Sri. Ramesh Kumar. It is inexplicable how anyone can ever utter such words, they are indefensible. Rape is a heinous crime. Full stop."

 

Karnataka has, on more than one occasion, seen people's representatives making insensitive remarks about rape. After the gang-rape of a medical student in Mysuru in August 2020, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had said that opposition was politicising the incident and ‘raping him’.

While he had claimed that it was no more than a ‘joke’, he later withdrew his comment, and apologised.

Mr. Kumar, when he was Speaker, had drawn the ire of women members by comparing himself to a rape survivor.

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