x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Calls for minister to quit after sexist joke

Women burn effigies of Sriprakash Jaiswal on streets of Kanpur after he makes crass joke about women.

NEW DELHI // The women's wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party burnt effigies of the Indian coal minister, Sriprakash Jaiswal, on the streets of Kanpur yesterday and demanded his resignation after a crass joke about women.

While referring to the national cricket team winning a match against Pakistan in the World Twenty20 championship in Sri Lanka, Mr Jaiswal said on Monday: "New victory and new wedding, both of them have their own importance. As time will pass, the victory will become old. As time passes, wife also becomes old - that charm does not sustain."

The joke caused outrage among women's rights activists.

Sudha Sundaraman, the general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association in New Delhi, said they condemned Mr Jaiswal's "extremely offensive" comments.

"Anti-women humour always raises a laugh in this society," said Ms Sundaraman. "His comments express a high degree of patriarchal ideology.

"This sort of sentiment is actually quite widespread, but for a minister to say this on a public platform is outrageous. It sends a message that such irresponsible quotes targeted at women are acceptable."

Mr Jaiswal apologised. "I did not mean to insult women or hurt anyone's sentiments," he said. "But I offer my apologies if my comments have hurt anyone."

The apology did not satisfy protesters, who yesterday blackened Mr Jaiswal's face on posters and chanted slogans against him, demanding his resignation.

A social activist in Kanpur, Anita Dua, filed a complaint in court against Mr Jaiswal's "sexist remarks".

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae

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