The Viduthalai Siruthaigal Katchi (VCK) cadre across Tamil Nadu staged a protest urging state and union governments to ban Manusmriti, the ancient book of laws, which is considered to be a code of conduct for Hindu society. VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan said that the Manusmriti demeans women, Dalits, underprivileged and indigenous people.
The VCK leader Thirumavalavan participated in the protest held in Valluvar Kottam in Chennai and said, “The Manusmriti that divides humans and demeans women should be banned. On September 27, Periyarists in Europe conducted a webinar and I gave a 45 minutes speech. A few groups edited out five minutes from the forty minute video and claimed that I am demeaning women. The Hindutva groups are circulating the false message against me.”
He also alleged that communal forces were creating a controversy regarding his speech to break VCK’s alliance with DMK.
Stating that VCK is reitrating a demand that was put forth by a great leader a century back, Thirumavalavan said, “Leaders like Periyar, MC Raja and Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti. Now a century later, VCK is reiterating the demand to ban Manusmriti.”
He blamed Hindutva groups for making false claims for political gains. “This is not the fight to erase wrong opinions about me but this is a protest to erase the demeaning comments made against women. The mindset of Sanatana groups is not to demean me but to divide the DMK alliance.”
The current controversy is regarding a clip from 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,” Thirumavalavan says in the video.
Explaining his words, Thirumavalavan said that he was not demeaning women and requested women from all segments to listen to the entire speech. He also thanked 'democratic forces' and parties who extended support for the protest.
The alliance parties of VCK came in support of Thol Thirumavalavan. In a statement, DMK president MK Stalin said, “Thirumavalavan spoke citing Sanatana-Varnashrama-
“It is condemnable that police instead of taking action against the communal groups that has twisted the statement of Thirumavalavan took action against the VCK leader himself. The communal groups should get back the case,” he said.
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani also extended his support to Thirumavalavan’s plea to ban the Manusmriti. Jignesh Mevani said, “I extend my solidarity to Thirumavalavan in standing against Manu and its doctrine of inequality which degrades women, shudras and dalits. The liberation of women and caste annihilation go hand in hand. I condemn the police case filed against him. All the Ambedkarites are with him.”