Shocking residents of a Mysuru panchayat with his insensitivity and misogyny, a Karnataka MLA abused a panchayat member and his wife when questioned about construction of public toilets. When a member of the Manchebayanahalli panchayat told Hunsur MLA HP Manjunath that women faced harassment when they went to defecate in the open because of a lack of toilets, Manjunath insulted the man by saying that his wife was being whistled at because he couldn't protect her.
“Hey, you, come here. Why don’t you stand here and speak? Do you want a representative to air concerns about your wife? You could not protect your wife. That’s why someone else had to accompany your wife to the road at 4 am and then he whistled at her. Have some self-respect,” said Manjunath when he was questioned about the lack of toilets in the village.
A video of Manjunath’s abusive tirade has surfaced now, although the incident took place during the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan programme at the Manchebayanahalli gram panchayat on August 26.
The programme was held as the taluk authorities had claimed that 95% of toilets had been constructed in 41 villages under its jurisdiction.
Speaking to TNM, the gram panchayat member, who was targeted by the MLA said that he was shocked and hurt by the MLA’s speech.
“I asked him a valid question. My own wife faces harassment when she goes to defecate in the open, as the funds have not been released for the construction of toilets. Is this a way an MLA speaks to the gram panchayat members? All I asked him was to let the public voice their concerns about the harassment and he abused us. How can he say such things about my wife? I am new to the political sphere and if this is the treatment meted out to people’s representatives at the rural level, where is the hope for the common people? He should not have spoken like this,” the panchayat member said on the condition of anonymity.
Manjunath, however, reacted to the controversy with no trace of apology in his words. Instead, the MLA claimed that he was being sarcastic because the efforts that had already been put in to construct toilets were not being recognised.
“I was only trying to bring to fore the problems faced by women. A person said that a few people had troubled them while they were openly defecating so I only told then that people should protect their women when they go out as it is their duty. We have met 95% of our target in constructing toilets but no one is lauding us for that effort. People only want to concentrate on this one remark,” Manjunath told reporters.
Watch the video here: