Kerala Women's commission chairperson resigns after sparking a row

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(Adds quotes,details) Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 25 (PTI) A day after her alleged insensitive remarks sparked a row in Kerala, the Women's Commission chairperson M C Josephine resigned on Friday, as women activists of the opposition Congress and BJP took out protest marches against her comment.

Josephine, a central committee member of the ruling CPI(M), had courted controversy when she spoke harshly to a woman complainant of domestic violence during a live television programme of a Malayalam channel on Wednesday, causing embarrassment to the Marxist party.

The matter was discussed at the state secretariat, which met on Friday, and attended by top party leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

She explained her stand with regard to the comments in the state secretariat and expressed willingness to stepdown from the post, which was duly accepted by the party, CPI(M) state secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan later told reporters.

'Her comments were not appropriate. She expressed regret.The state secretariat discussed the matter today whereJosephine explained her stand and expressed regret on the lapses on her part.She also expressed willingness to step down from the post as chairperson of the commission.The party accepted that,' he said.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, V D Satheeshan said the chairperson's decision to quit was appropriate and should have been done earlier as she had constantly 'engaged in making such disparaging comments affecting the sanctity of the office'.

BJP statepresident K Surendran said there was no other option before her but to resign.She faced the wrath of the public for her insensitive comment towards a complainant, he said in a statement.

Josephine, while attending the television show asked the woman, who alleged that she was being harassed by her husband and mother-in-law, if she had filed a police complaint against them.

When the woman replied in the negative, Josephinecould be seen reacting angrily, and asked her to 'suffer' fornot approaching the police.

The woman told her that she was married since 2014 and had no children and alleged she was constantly being assaulted by her husband and mother-in-law.

The video of the women panel chief's behaviour on live TV has gone viral on social media, with demands pouring in for her resignation, even from netizens with Left leaning, on her insensitive attitude.

She later expressed regret for her comments following widespread condemnation over the remarks.

Mahila Congress workers took out a protest march in front of theAKG centre where the state secretariat was proceeding this morning.

Protesters were arrested and removed by police.

BJP women workers also took out a march to the commission's office here and burnt Josephine's effigy.

The chairperson's remarks had come days after the state had witnessed the shocking incident of dowry related death of a 24-year-old woman, Vismaya, who was found hanging in her husband's house hardly a year after her marriage.

A couple of similar incidents have been reported in the state in the past few days.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) has decided to launch a state-wide 'Streepaksha Keralam' campaign starting from July 8 on gender justice.

Vijayaraghavan said a campaign would be organised in the state from July 1 for seven days against the anti-women attitude that is now taking shape in the society.


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