A row erupted here on Friday over the alleged derogatory remarks of Lok Sabha MP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) founder Thol. Thirumavalvan about women, with the BJP lashing out at him and demanding an apology. The allegation against the Chidambaram Member of Parliament was that he spoke ill of women while citing Manusmriti, a perceived anti-feminist ancient code of conduct.
But the VCK leader denied denigrating women and insisted he was working for their emancipation. A video clip in social media purportedly showed him making some remarks but the leader alleged "communal" forces were creating a wrong impression that he belittled women.
Users on micro-blogging site Twitter debated the issue, with some supporting him and others criticising the MP. BJP leader Khushbu Sundar hit out at Thirumavalavan and asked him to be careful of what he speaks since he was a political leader.
Addressing reporters at the state BJP headquarters, Kamalalayam, Sundar said women cannot be objectified and accused the MP of "using religion" against them. "He is a political party leader and should be aware of what he is saying..women cannot be objectified… you should apologise," she said and pointed out there were women in his family too.
Without naming anyone, she said many women family members of political leaders claiming to be followers of rational leader, the late EVR Periyar, "go from temple to temple and click picture." Responding to the charges, Thirumalavan said he had made no disparaging remarks against women while participating in an online conference recently. "I said that Manusmriti demeans women. But those with an eye on political mileage, a casteist-communal group is spreading falsehood against me and creating an impression as if I spoke against women," he said in a video uploaded on his Twitter page.
"This is completely wrong. We are struggling for women's emancipation and those unable to tolerate this are doing such things to create a flutter in the DMK alliance during (ahead of) elections," he said. VCK, which has two MPs including Thirumavalavan, is part of the multi-party opposition Secular Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu led by the DMK.
Further, he announced state-wide protests by his party against Manusmriti in Tamil Nadu on Saturday. Incidentally, the leader had courted controversy earlier too when his comments on women statues in temples did not go down well with pro-Hindu organisations and certain sections of the population.