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Cong MLA Apologises for Comparing K'taka Speaker's Position to Rape as Laughter in House Adds to Outrage

Former Karnataka speaker and senior Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar made the distasteful remark in the assembly on Thursday. (Image: ANI)

Former Karnataka speaker and senior Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar made the distasteful remark in the assembly on Thursday. (Image: ANI)

The footage of Kumar's comments in the Karnataka Assembly went viral and was quote tweeted by Rekha Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women.

Former Karnataka speaker and senior Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar on Friday apologised for his unsavoury “when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy” remark in the Karnataka Assembly that sparked outrage. In his comments, Kumar had further likened the Speaker’s position to that of a rape victim.

Taking to Twitter, Kumar wrote, “I would like to express my sincere apologies to everyone for the indifferent and negligent comment I made in today’s assembly about “Rape!” My intention was not trivialise or make light of the heinous crime, but an off the cuff remark! I will choose my words carefully henceforth!”

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary and veteran politician Randeep Surjewala responded to the row and said that the grand old party “disapproves the exchange of highly objectionable and insensitive banter between Karnataka Assembly Speaker and senior Congress MLA in the House”.

Kumar had said that “there is a saying that, when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it,” when speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri expressed his own helplessness in controling the business of the House.

Kageri, while talking about how more members were demanding more time to discuss the losses due to floods in Karnataka even after 25 MLAs had already been given an opportunity to join the debate, said he had given up.

“It is better you people decide among yourselves now. Whatever you decide, I will say yes to now. My role is just to say ‘yes yes’ now, that’s all. Ramesh Kumar, What I feel now is, let us enjoy this situation. I have given up trying to control things and taking things along in a systematic way. Now I just say – go ahead and talk , I can do no further . That is the situation I have come to now. Only disappointed that the regular business of the House is not happening, but..,” he said.

To which Kumar responded “there is a saying that when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it. That is the position you are in.”

Kageri and a few MLAs laughed out aloud at Kumar’s comments. The Speaker further nodded in agreement.

This is not the first time Kumar brought up a rape analogy to proceedings in the Assembly.

In 2019, when he was the Speaker during the Congress-JDS coalition government, he had compared his own state to that of a rape victim during a discussion over a leaked audio clip where former BJP CM BS Yediyurappa had allegedly tried to lure JDS MLAs to break away from the coalition government and join the BJP. At that time, because of some disparaging remarks in the leaked audio clip, Kumar had said that his position was akin to that of a defenceless rape victim,” as they too are supposedly questioned about the incident repeatedly.”

The footage of Kumar’s Thursday’s comments in the Karnataka Assembly went viral and was quote tweeted by Rekha Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shobha Karandlaje tore into Kumar and said, “sIt’s sickening to learn the mindset of a 6-time legislator! INC MLA #RameshKumar shouldn’t be allowed into Suvarna Soudha. He has denigrated the sanctity of the Temple of Democracy by trivialising rape. He must be thrown out of the party & assembly for his insensitive remarks. (sIC)”

Reacting to the comment, former MLA and a senior lawyer and activist Abha Singh demanded Kumar’s immediate suspension. “When you have a member of the house saying such things, it only means he is putting his stamp of approval on the crime. This MLA needs to be suspended immediately. If he is from Congress party, then you have Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi at the helm of affairs, why have they kept quiet till now? They should come out openly and condemn because it shows that on political lines you are ready to legitimise rape.”

“If you look at ADR data, you realise almost 30 per cent o MLAs and MPs are accused of heinous crimes against women, so we have somehow looked away when such offences are reported. Anyone who is accused of this should not even be allowed to contest – whoever makes such statements, action must be taken by the party. If they get away they get emboldened,” she added.

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first published:December 17, 2021, 09:45 IST