Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh was on Monday summoned by the National Commission for Women (NCW) for his controversial blog in which he had defended Delhi minister Sandeep Kumar over an "objectionable" CD, saying it was a "consensual" act and that he had done no wrong.
In the blog post, Ashutosh had referred to the alleged affairs of icons like Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi while seeking to defend Kumar who was sacked as minister after a CD purportedly showing him with a woman in a "compromising position" surfaced.
"We have asked him to come on September 8. This is in response to what we feel is a very reprehensible and demeaning blog Ashutosh wrote, where he defended a man accused of rape," NCW Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam said.
"...The Commission has taken a note in the larger interest because we feel that as a spokesperson of a party that governs Delhi and a party whose members have been accused of many incidents of violence against women he should not be writing a blog like this which reeks of patriarchy and misogyny," she said.
The NCW Chairperson also said Ashutosh jumped the gun in terming the incident as an act among two consenting adults when a criminal investigation is underway.
"Why did he jump the gun. The police had taken cognisance immediately and there was no shroud on what action the police had taken. Jumping the gun is also a sign of patriarchy in our country. This is not a blog especially the spokesperson of a party, whose minister committed the crime, should be allowed to get away with," Kumaramangalam said.
"...also, Ashutosh says that because Mao Zedong did it, it's okay. Because other people did it, it's okay. When you are in public life there are standards of rectitude that everybody is supposed to adhere to, man or woman," she said.
In his blog on a TV channel’s website, Ashutosh had written, "This video encompasses pictures of a man and woman indulging in a sexual act. The video clearly establishes that both individuals knew each other and consented to sex in a private space away from the public glare. The question then is that if two consenting adults are physically involved with each other, is it a crime?"
Ashutosh had claimed that Kumar was sacked as a minister for "perception management".
Kumar was removed from the AAP government on August 31 by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Following Ashutosh’s defence, an AAP MLA shot off a letter to party’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and alleged that a "coterie" was damaging the party.
Bijwasan MLA Devinder Sehrawat, who had earlier spoken out against the manner in which AAP had sacked Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, said the situation is getting indefensible and disgraceful and action needs to be taken to remove "rotten elements".
He said "justifications" put forth by Ashutosh for Kumar's conduct were not "as per the acceptable value systems".
At least two police complaints, one in Mumbai and one in Delhi, have been filed against Ashutosh for his remarks.
Sandeep Kumar was arrested on September 3 after a woman approached Sultanpuri police station in north Delhi with a complaint of sexual harassment against the former social welfare and women and child development minister following which a case was filed. The woman had figured in an objectionable video with him.
The MLA from Sultanpur Majra had surrendered before the investigators at the office of DCP(Outer) in Pitampura where his statement was recorded, police officials had said.
The sacked minister was today remanded to three-day police custody.