A BJP national spokesperson doubled down on his comment likening an author to a dog as his tweet triggered a controversy online on Thursday, saying he was a "proud Hindu". Gopal Krishna Agarwal had targeted Shunali Khullar Shroff on Twitter two days ago after she took a dig at a religious leader in Gujarat for saying menstruating women who cook food for their husbands will be reborn as dogs.
"Here is a picture of two fallen women who became she-dogs because they cooked for their husbands while on their period in their last life. You can tell they're sorry from their body language," Ms Shroff had tweeted. Mr Agarwal responded, "Which one you identify with your good self ....!!"
Which one you identify with your good self ....!!— Gopal Krishna Agarwal (@gopalkagarwal) February 18, 2020
The BJP leader's tweet drew widespread condemnation. Mr Agarwal is the economic affairs spokesperson of the BJP.
This is the @BJP4India national spokesperson basically abusing a woman on a public platform! You should be ashamed of yourself Agrawal ji! Khud ka toh kya hi lihaaz karogey- kam sey kam jis bhagwaan ke naam par ma-baap ney aapkaa naam rakha tha, unka hi lihaaz kar lo! #Ghatiyahttps://t.co/rORt4dIWTR— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) February 20, 2020
Obesity is number one problem in India. @gopalkagarwal is number two.— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) February 20, 2020
Shame on you (@gopalkagarwal )for such a derogatory remark.— Abdul Hafiz Gandhi (अब्दुल हफीज़ गाँधी ) (@hafizgandhi) February 20, 2020
Standing by his statement, Mr Agarwal responded to actress Swara Bhasker, saying he was only responding to an "absurd claim".
@ReallySwara it was response to absurd claim by @shunalishroff that these have become cats because they cooked for their husbands while menstruating. I don't like quoting out of context and demeaning #Hinduism. I am a proud #Hindu— Gopal Krishna Agarwal (@gopalkagarwal) February 20, 2020
Mam and mine was in response to your absurd tweet.— Gopal Krishna Agarwal (@gopalkagarwal) February 20, 2020
What strength to enemy. It is exposing their hypocrisy— Gopal Krishna Agarwal (@gopalkagarwal) February 20, 2020
At the centre of the controversy is a sermon delivered by Swami Krushnaswarup Dasji of Swaminarayan Temple in Bhuj in Gujarat. The swami belongs to "Nar-Narayan Devgadi" of Swami Narayan Sect.
"Menstruating women who cook food for their husbands will take birth as dogs in their next life while men consuming food prepared by women having periods will reborn as bullocks, as per religious texts," he had said.
The religious leader is associated with the temple which runs a college in Bhuj whose principal and female staff had allegedly forced more than 60 girls to remove their underwear last week to check if they were menstruating for "breaking a hostel rule that girls having their periods are not supposed to take meal with other inmates".
The principal, the hostel rector and the peon of Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute (SSGI) were arrested on Monday for the alleged incident which occurred on February 11.