Kerala women panel chief MC Josephine, who was widely criticised over her remarks to a domestic violence survivor, today apologised for the comments, and stepped down from her post.
Ms Josephine, in an exchange on a local call-in show, had apparently lost patience during a conversation when a woman dialled up to share her grievance.
After sharing that she was assaulted by her husband and mother-in-law, the caller was asked by the women's panel boss if she ever went to the police. The Women's Commission Chief sounded irritated, possibly due to audio issues.
When the woman replied that she hadn't shared her plight with anyone, Ms Joshephine retorted: "Then you suffer, OK?".
The incident took place during a live phone-in for a Malayalam programme.
Today, expressing regret over her comments, Ms Josephine told reporters: "A woman, on call, said she was being tortured by her husband and mother-in-law. I got to know that she didn't file complaint. Later, I realised that I shouldn't have reacted in such a manner. I would like to express regret if my words have hurt her"
"There are women who aren't willing to listen to us. We suggest women to file complaint making the case stronger as we can't reach everywhere," she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Among those who had hit out at Ms Josephine over the comments was the BJP's Sobha Surendran. "Chairperson of Kerala Women's Commission is an intolerant hostile CPI(M) leader who condemned a domestic violence complainant on live TV and condones abuse. Requesting Smriti Irani to kindly intervene," she tweeted.
This is Shameful conduct by the #kerala Women's Commission Chairperson Ms.Josephine.When a distressed caller who is abused by her husband & mother in law told her that she had not contacted the police regarding the abuse, Josephine told her that she deserves the abuse! Heartless https://t.co/BQIugZ9wQj— Dr. Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) June 25, 2021
The Congress's Dr Shama Mohamed also tweeted a sharp response, along with the video of the conversation. "This is Shameful conduct by the #kerala Women's Commission Chairperson Ms.Josephine. When a distressed caller who is abused by her husband & mother in law told her that she had not contacted the police regarding the abuse, Josephine told her that she deserves the abuse! Heartless (sic)," she wrote.