Kerala critic and political commentator Advocate A Jayashankar has been slammed for his controversial remark against author-activist Arundhati Roy. Jayashankar called Roy ‘alcoholic and senseless,’ at a panel discussion on Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom, conducted at Ernakulam Government Law College by KSU on Thursday.
“After 8 at night, Arundhati Roy will be drunk and walking around high,” Jayashankar alleged. He was responding to a question posed by one of the students on Mahatma Gandhi’s stand on caste system in the country and that she had heard this comment during a speech delivered by Arundhati Roy.
“A student posed a question to him on Mahatma Gandhi’s stand on caste system in the country that he had expressed in Navjivan newspaper. To this, Jayashankar retorted that one must not evaluate things based on something that they heard randomly from somewhere. The student then said that she had actually heard this from Arundhati Roy’s speech during last year’s Kerala Literature Festival. It was following this that the advocate started to make the controversial statements,” said Siddharth, SFI unit secretary of Law College.
In the video, Jayashankar can be seen interrupting the student saying, “I am not joking, sister, it is people like you who… Arundhati Roy’s foolishness, this woman, gets drunk and is senseless. It is true that in the past she wrote a novel and got an award. Arundhati Roy is a woman who, after eight at night will get drunk, get high, and just stroll around. It is bad that you asked something based on their foolishness.”
He continues, “Who is Gandhiji and who is Arundhati Roy? Can this be compared?”
At this point, someone from the crowd can be heard booing him. But Jayashankar, though was startled for a second, continued his speech, saying, “I am not criticizing, these people who read will say whatever they want. Gandhiji has voiced various opinions, in different times. If that is taken from the context, it will go wrong. That is the problem,” he says.
The critic is now being heavily criticised for the offensive remark. After the speech, members of Students Federation of India (SFI) of the Ernakulam Law College filed a complaint against Advocate Jayashankar with the Kochi Commissioner on Friday.
“This (statement) is anti-women and is not something suitable for a progressive society. Such a misogynistic remark was made in a college where the students who are the hopes of tomorrow study,” the students said in the complaint.
Earlier, in a Facebook post on his official page, Jayashankar had criticised the state government’s plan to start pubs in Kerala. He had then claimed, “In the next phase, red light areas will be started. With that Kerala will become red. The Renaissance will be complete. Revolution will succeed.”