Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala has triggered a huge controversy in Kerala with his remark about the accused in a rape case that is being seen as anti-women. The case involved the rape of a 44-year-old woman, allegedly by a junior health inspector when she had gone to his house to collect the report of her coronavirus test. The man has been arrested and suspended.
At a press conference on Tuesday, a journalist had asked: "The accused health inspector is a member of a pro-congress association. An active member. If all congress persons started assaulting like this, how can women live?"
"Is it written somewhere that only DYFI workers can assault?" the senior Congress leader had retorted. "These allegations are all lies, that he (the accused) is part of a NGO association or a Congress member... lies being told," he had said.
Calling his remark "insulting", Health Minister KK Shailaja has sought an apology. "Ramesh Chennithala must apologise for making a statement which insults women."
"No accused who insults women will find place in the health department", the minister added, referring to two health workers who have been accused in two recent rape cases in the state.
Mr Chennithala has now said his words have been twisted.
In a media statement, he said: "What I meant was not just DYFI workers but service association of NGO Union is also involved in sexual assault."
"I meant that there cannot be any assault against women...This is an attempt to divert attention of the public from the two instances of rape. Request people to not fall into the trap", the statement added.