Kerala Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran on Sunday found himself in the midst of a controversy for his alleged remarks about rape victims. However, he tendered an unconditional apology after coming under fire from women leaders, including those from his party.
Addressing a protest meet against the LDF government over various issues, he said, "... it's a desperate attempt by the (Left) to dress up a prostitute and make her stand behind the curtain and narrate her tales. This will not work."
"One can understand when a woman is raped once. But what if she repeatedly says it. A woman with self-respect will either die by suicide after she is raped or try not to be sexually assaulted again."
Ramachandran was criticising the Left Democratic Front(LDF) after the Solar scam accused Sarita Nair approached the police recently accusing former Congress Minister A P Anil Kumar of raping her.
The solar scam had rocked the then UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy in Kerala after reports surfaced in 2013 that some of his staff were involved in alleged duping of several people of crores of rupees by Saritha and her husband by offering solar panel solutions.
Ramachandran was apparently referring to Nair when he made the remarks on Sunday.
While Health minister KK Shailaja termed the comment as 'highly condemnable', the state commission for women registered a case against the Congress chief.
"It was an anti-women statement from Mullappally Ramachandran. He said the victim would commit suicide after rape.
Rape is the most brutal crime against women and children.
The statement is a disgrace to the society as such," Shailaja said in a video message.
Ramachandran said his statements were misinterpreted by certain people.
Shailaja also said offering an apology after making such 'deplorable' statements was not enough as this was not the first time the Congress leader has made such comments.
Ramachandran had earlier made 'derogatory' remarks against Shailaja in June, calling her a "COVID Queen" and a "Nipah Princess", referring to her handling of the diseases as the Health Minister.
"It's a disgrace to the cultural society of Kerala to have a political leadership which makes such disparaging statements against women repeatedly. Political parties should rein in such attempts," Women's panel chief M C Josephine said in a release.
Lashing out at the KPCC chief, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said it was the 'most condemnable' statement made by him.
"He speaks in the same language about rape victims as BJP does. We heard what Uttar Pradesh chief minister and other BJP leaders speak about rape victims, blaming rape victims.
Ramachandran has joined that gang to blame rape victims for the atrocities against them. Shame on him," Karat said in a video message while seeking his removal as state Congress President.
Congress MLA Shanimol Usman condemned the statement of Ramachandran and described it as 'unfortunate.'