TN feminists write open letter to Karaikudi voters to reject BJP’s H Raja

The move comes after H Raja called for the expulsion of DMK’s A Raja for the latter’s controversial remarks during campaigning.
H Raja
H Raja
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A group of feminists from Tamil Nadu have written an open letter to the voters of Karaikudi, listing the anti-women remarks that one of their candidates H Raja, a senior BJP leader, has expressed on public platforms. The letter comes at a time when H Raja has been calling out to Tamil Nadu voters to reject the DMK due to the comments made by DMK Deputy Secretary and MP A Raja during campaigning.

The letter put together by several women authors, journalists, political leaders and professors including Meena Kandasamy, Grace Banu, Salma, Kavitha Gajendran etc states that the first step to women’s liberation is in the political arena. “In this election campaign trail, leaders across parties have been passing sexist remarks against women. We have been voicing our opposition to such remarks irrespective of the political party under the scanner. A Raja, a former Union Minister and DMK leader, has apologised for his remarks. However, H Raja has sought for his expulsion from the DMK. Our aim is to question H Raja’s moral right to seek A Raja’s expulsion,” the letter states.

The letter also lists a few comments expressed by the BJP leader in earlier instances to highlight H Raja’s lack of qualifications to speak about women. “We can conclude with several examples that BJP is a party that harbours regressive views about women. You also know that BJP is a party that had no concern for women starting from Asifa in Kashmir to the women survivors in the Pollachi Sexual assault case,” the letter points out. 

The letter further adds several instances when H Raja spoke ill of women. “In 2018, he tweeted that Kanimozhi is someone who was born as an illegitimate child. Poet Vairamuthu is the son of a sex worker. Officials of the Department of Hindu Religion and Charitable Endowments who sell the land after taking bribes are those who sell the women in their houses,” etc are some of the instances listed in the letter. The letter adds that H Raja not only passes these comments himself but also encourages his party men who express misogynistic comments about women. “When BJP’s Karu Nagarajan spoke about Congress MP Jothimani in an obscene manner, H Raja was the first person to come out in support of Nagarajan,” the letter said.

Adding that H Raja is someone who casually passes sexist and objectionable remarks against women and supports those who express similar comments, the letter asks if the people of Karaikudi are going to vote for such a person. “We urge you to give a befitting reply to H Raja,” the letter signs off. 

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