Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran has once again made problematic comments, this time in a speech in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. While criticising the Left Democratic Front government (LDF) for bringing up the solar case against the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), he made anti-women comments about the complainant in the case. Dismissing the woman's allegations, Mullappally said that a woman with self respect will die if she is raped, or else try not to be sexually assaulted again.
“Every day, this woman would wake up saying she has been raped by someone. The LDF has brought a sex worker as a desperate attempt (against the UDF) and made her tell tales. Chief Minister (Pinarayi Vijayan), this game will not work, this blackmailing will not work. One can understand when a woman is raped once. But she says she is repeatedly assaulted. A woman with self respect will either die after she is raped once, or will try not to be sexually assaulted again,” Mullappally said.
Watch: Mullappally's speech and apology
The solar case broke out in 2013 during the rule of the UDF government led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, when a company defrauded a number of investors of large amounts of money, on the false promise of installing solar panels or making them business partners. Names of several leaders of the ruling UDF had cropped up in connection with the main accused woman in the case. Mullappally was referring to her when he made his misogynistic statements on Sunday.
Mullappally later apologised on the same stage when his comments were understood to be problematic, and said he is sorry if his statements were anti-woman.
Minister for Women and Child Development KK Shailaja condemned the statements made by Mullappally on a Facebook live video. “We know that rape is a most sinister crime. Touching the bodies and attacking the minds of women and girls without their permission is a cruel crime. The comment made by KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran that the victims should die or else not allow another assault on them, is humiliating to the society. Most of us wish to save the girls and women and punish the attacker. Rapes do not happen because women are not careful, but because of the dominating nature of the society. Most women and men oppose it. It is condemnable that a political leadership that should lead the way has made these deplorable comments,” she said.
Watch: Minister Shailaja condemns Mullappally's anti-women comments
Mullappally had earlier landed in another controversy when he made derogatory remarks against Minister Shailaja in June, calling her a 'Covid Queen' and a 'Nipah princess', for her handling of these diseases as Health Minister. He had also waved a copy of The Guardian newspaper which called Shailaja a ‘rock star’ for her handling of COVID-19, confusing it to be a derogatory term.