VCK calls for State-wide protest demanding ban on Manusmriti

Controversy erupts over Thirumavalavan’s remarks on women.

October 24, 2020 12:17 am | Updated 10:21 am IST - CHENNAI

Thol. Thirumavalavan

Thol. Thirumavalavan

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) founder and Chidambaram MP Thol. Thirumavalavan has called a State-wide protest on Saturday to urge the State and Central governments to ban the Hindu religious text, Manusmriti, on the grounds that it demeans women, the backward castes and indigenous groups, and spreads hatred against them.

The Dravidar Kazhagam, the Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam and the May 17 movement have pledged support to the protest.

In a statement, Mr. Thirumavalavan said the Manusmriti , believed to have been written almost 2,000 years ago, speaks ill of the working class, as a whole, instigates violence against them and justifies their murder. “It portrays women in a bad light. It states that a particular ‘varna’ or caste does not have the right to live. This is why Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti   in 1927 and exposed its inhumanity in many of his books,” he said.

Mr. Thirumavalavan said the Manusmriti lost its place as law of the land after the British took over India and created a law that considered everyone equal. “The Sanatana forces that are in power today are again trying to reorganise power structures according to the Manusmriti . This is why violence against women is growing in India. This is why the question on whether India is being governed according to the Constitution... or the Manusmriti is being raised,” he said.

A controversy over Mr. Thirumavalavan’s comments in a speech erupted after the protest was announced. A video of the speech, at a web-based conference organised last month by the European Union Periyar Ambedkar Comrades’ Federation, on the topic “Periyar and Indian Politics”, went viral. In the clip, he states, “As per Hindu Dharma , all women are created by God as prostitutes. They are prostitutes as per Hindu Dharma ...Manu Dharma . The status of all women is less than that of a man.”

Actor Kushboo Sundar of the BJP condemned Mr. Thirumavalavan’s statement and demanded that he prove his claim that the Manusmriti says “women are prostitutes”. Asked whether she had read the Manusmriti , Ms. Kushboo said there was “not a single word that demeans women”.

The Cyber Crime Wing of the CCB booked a case on Friday against Mr. Thirumavalavan based on an online complaint from Ashwathaman, a BJP functionary.

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