Not just Abu Azmi: Remarks by other leaders highlight misogyny in politics | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Not just Abu Azmi: Remarks by other leaders highlight misogyny in politics

Although politicians cutting across party lines have courted troubles for their remarks, here’s a list of controversial statements by Samajwadi Party leaders.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2017 11:46 IST
Police personnel try to manage the crowd during New Year's Eve celebrations in Bengaluru on January 1, 2017.
Police personnel try to manage the crowd during New Year's Eve celebrations in Bengaluru on January 1, 2017.(AFP file photo)

Samajwadi Party’s Maharashtra unit chief Abu Azmi’s remark on Tuesday on the recent alleged mass molestation of women in Bengaluru is just another statement in the long list of misogynist comments made by Indian politicians.

“When few women in half dress come out on streets at late night with their friends, such incidents do occur,” Azmi said instead of demanding a probe into the media reports on the incident on New Year’s Eve.

“Ladies hailing from well-to-do families, be it from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan or UP, they come out in decent attire and mostly with their family members,” he added.

Azmi also defended Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara who had stoked a controversy by blaming the youngsters’ “western ways” for the incidents and saying that such “things do happen”.

Azmi’s comment against women is not his first.

“If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam. Any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent,” he said in April 2014.

And this is also not the first time a SP leader has put his foot in his mouth.

Although politicians cutting across party lines have courted troubles for their misogynistic remarks, here’s a list of controversial statements by SP leaders.

Mulayam Singh Yadav: In April 2014, he opposed capital punishment for rape, saying “Ladke hain… galti ho jati hai (Boys will be boys… they commit mistakes). He was referring to the death sentence given to the Shakti Mill rapists in Mumbai. Yadav said if his party was elected to power, he would amend the law.

Azam Khan: In April 2016, the senior Uttar Pradesh minister said the Bulandshahr highway gang-rape could be a political conspiracy to defame the Uttar Pradesh government.

Akhilesh Yadav: The Uttar Pradesh chief minister is not the one to fall behind. In March 2014, after being questioned by reporters over the rise in violence against women in his state, Akhilesh shot back saying, “Aapko toh khatra nahin hua? (It’s not as if you faced any danger?).”

Naresh Agarwal: In November 2013, commenting on the Lakhimpur gang rape in Assam, Agarwal said the media was unnecessarily hyping the issue. “Such things happen on a daily basis. I have read about them in Delhi as well. I understand why the media sometimes focuses on one rape but almost ignores other rapes.”

However, he was just trying to prove that his thoughts had not changed one bit in a year. On August 24, 2012, speaking about a Mumbai rape case, he had said, “Women also need to pay attention to their clothing to avoid being raped and should not be influenced by the media.”

Ram Gopal Yadav: It seems like misogyny runs in their blood. Despite the outrage in the country surrounding the release of the juvenile rapist in the December, 2012 Delhi gang-rape and debates on changing the juvenile act, Mulayam’s brother in December, 2015 said: “Law cannot be changed for one man.”

He also went on to say that the SP was opposed to the new bill (post-Nirbhaya laws.) “It has been framed on the recommendations of some mentally-retarded people.”