BJP leader Khushboo Sundar hit out at Thirumavalavan at a press meet and asked him to be careful of what he speaks since he is a political leader.

TN BJP asks Thirumavalavan to apologise for Manusmriti video, VCK unfazed
news Controversy Friday, October 23, 2020 - 19:56

The Tamil Nadu BJP has locked horns with Lok Sabha MP and the Chief of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) Thirumavalavan over his remarks on the Manusmriti and its views on women and sanatana dharma. Leading the attack was one of BJP’s newest additions to the state unit, Kushboo Sundar.

However, unperturbed by the BJP’s attack on his clip, Thol Thirumavalavan has tweeted that the VCK will hold a protest on October 24, seeking a ban on the ancient book of laws, which is considered to be a code of conduct for Hindu society. The text, which was written between the 2nd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, was used to frame Hindu laws by the British colonial government.

The allegation against the Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu’s Chidambaram Lok Sabha constituency is that he spoke ill of women, in the context of the Manusmriti. However, in the video being circulated, Thirumavalavan says that he is stating what the Manusmriti allegedly says about women. The VCK leader has denied denigrating women and insisted that he was working for their emancipation.

The video clip circulated on social media shows a remark he made at a webinar organised on ‘Periyar and Indian Politics’ in September 2020. “How are women, who form around half of the population, treated in Sanatana Dharma? How are they oppressed and taken advantage of for a long time? What does Sanatana Dharma say about women? Women were basically created by God as prostitutes. All women are prostitutes, as per Hindu dharma, Manu dharma,” he says.

The ancient text of the Manusmriti has often been criticised by anti-caste activists and feminists for its views on women and caste, among other issues. Thirumavalavan and other VCK leaders like MLA Ravikumar have tweeted translations of the Manusmriti in support of their interpretation and asked for a ban.

However, BJP leader Khushboo Sundar hit out at Thirumavalavan at a press meet and asked him to be careful of what he speaks since he is a political leader. Addressing reporters at the state BJP headquarters, Kamalalayam, Khushboo said “women cannot be objectified” and claimed that Thirumavalavan was "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, adding that there are women in his family too. In another barb, without naming anyone, Khushboo said that women relatives of leaders who claim to be followers of a rational leader like the late Periyar "go from temple to temple and click pictures."

Responding to the charges about his clip, Thirumalavan said he had made no disparaging remarks against women while participating in the online conference.

"I said that the 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 on Saturday against the Manusmriti, calling for its ban in Tamil Nadu.

Users on micro-blogging site Twitter debated the issue, with some supporting him and others criticising the MP.

(With PTI inputs)