Congress, BJP target Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M.C. Josephine for her ‘callous’ remark to domestic violence victim

M.C. Josephine   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday targeted Kerala State Women's Commission (KSWC) chairperson M. C. Josephine for allegedly slighting a victim of domestic violence during a televised phone-in programme.

The incident had unleashed a storm of social media protests, with women activists, human right organisations and opposition parties wading into the controversy.

The online ire manifested on the street early Friday with India Mahila Congress workers staking out in front of the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram ostensibly to prevent Ms. Josephine from participating in the CPI(M) State secretariat. Later, the police forcibly removed them from the spot.

A kilometre away, BJP Vanitha Morcha workers torched an effigy of Ms. Josephine in front of the Women's Commission headquarters.

Cruel response: Satheesan

At Nilamel in Kollam, Opposition Leader V. D. Satheesan said that Ms. Josephine's "cruel response" to the unfortunate complainant had dented the credibility of the Women's Commission. Mr. Satheesan was in Kollam to meet the parents of another casualty of dowry harassment.

Mr. Satheesan said he could not fathom why Ms. Josephine behaved insensitively to a highly distressed woman who had sought her help. The Opposition Leader said he had only sympathy for the KSWC chairperson.

BJP State president K. Surendran has demanded Ms. Josephine's removal from the post of KSWC chair. He said the KSWC offered no solace to victims of gender violence. Instead, it visited more mental pain by treating petitioners with disdain and callousness. As a result, the KSWC has ceased to be distress mitigant for victims of misogynist crime, he said.

The CPI(M) had batted for renaissance at Sabarimala. But, first, the party should create a conducive atmosphere for women to live securely and with dignity in Kerala, he added.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran had also demanded Ms. Josephine's resignation. He said women approached the KSWC because many were reluctant to suffer the indignity of waiting for hours at crowded police stations. However, under Ms. Josephine, the KSWC had transformed into an institution apathetic to the travails of women.

Incident regretted

A CPI(M) insider said that perhaps Ms. Josephine would have some answering to do at the CPI(M) State secretariat. He noted that Ms. Josephine had regretted the incident. She had only persuaded the caller to give a statement to the police to set the process of law in motion.

The party person said the CPI(M) was unlikely to remove Ms. Josephine in a huff from the post. She was likely to serve her term.

The All India Youth Federation of the CPI had demanded Ms. Josephine’s resignation. However, its CPI(M) counterpart, the Democratic Federation of India (DYFI), had rejected it.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 6:18:07 AM |

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