Kerala Women's Commission head tells woman to 'suffer'

Kerala Women's Commission head tells woman in distress to 'suffer'; apologises later

She said that she reacted in such a manner as she was upset over women not reporting to the police about domestic violence

Kerala Women's Commission chairperson and CPM leader M C Josephine. Credit: Twitter Photo/@Rockumon

Kerala Women's Commission chairperson and CPM leader M C Josephine is facing severe criticism as she told a woman, who rang up her to complain of domestic violence, to 'suffer'. Her statement that if dowry is being given it should be credited in women's bank account only also raised many eyebrows.

The Opposition party Congress-led United Democratic Front and various forums demanded Josephine's resignation.

Following the controversy, Josephine tendered an apology for asking the woman to 'suffer'.

It was during a phone-in complaint redressal programme on a television channel when Josephine spoke in an irritated manner to a woman who rang up to complain of assault by her husband and mother-in-law. As the woman said that she did not report to the police about the assault, she commented that then she may "suffer", Josephine said.

She was speaking in an irritated tone right from the beginning as the complainant was speaking feebly and there was noise in the background.

Also read: CM Pinarayi Vijayan condemns dowry deaths in Kerala

The incident happened close on the heels of domestic violence and dowry deaths being widely reported in Kerala. A helpline opened by the Kerala police on Wednesday to consider domestic violence complaints received 212 complaints on the first day itself.

As the matter became controversial, Josephine issued a statement tendering apology for asking the woman to suffer. She said that she reacted in such a manner as she was upset over women not reporting to the police about domestic violence.

While Kerala PCC president K Sudhakaran and various opposition outfits demanded Josephine's resignation, BJP leader Sobha Surendran sought Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani's intervention into the incident. Demonstrations were staged against her in many parts of the state.

Josephine is also facing severe criticism on social media.

Some pro-left organisations also protested against the Women's Commission chairperson's statement.

Josephine's statement on crediting dowry money in the bank accounts of women came while speaking to the media after visiting the house of a recent dowry victim at Kollam district. She said that while dowry should ideally be avoided, in case it needs to be given, it should be credited to women's bank account. The statement raised many eyebrows as many felt it indirectly supported dowry.

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