Kerala Women’s Commission Chief Quits After Backlash On Comment: “Then You Suffer”

Since 2017 and a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) central committee; resigned from her post on Friday, June 25th, on receiving backlash for her remarks on a woman complaining about domestic violence on live television.

On Wednesday, June 23rd, Josephine was on a live phone-in telecast on a program held by Manorama News, which gave women an opportunity to speak to Josephine directly about their grievances; when a woman called in and complained about the alleged domestic violence, she has been facing by her husband and mother-in-law, after her marriage in 2014.

Josephine’s reply to the same was, “did you complain to the police,” The woman denied and conveyed she had not disclosed the matter to anyone as yet, to which Josephine replied, “Then you suffer.” The viewers report the tone of her speech was very condemning. It is reckoned she was annoyed by the poor audio quality.

The state was enraged by her response. Later, when asked about the allegations, she denied her faults and said, “There are women who aren’t willing to listen to us,” adding to that, she said, “We suggest women file compliant making the case stronger as we can’t reach everywhere.” Further, she accepted she should not have behaved in such a manner and said, “I would like to express my regret if my words have hurt her.”

After the internal discussions in a meeting of the party-state secretariat, the CPI (M) state secretary, A Vijayaraghavan, replied, “The secretariat discussed the issue and Josephine expressed her willingness to resign. She has apologized for remarks.” Josephine resigned from her position eight months before her five-year tenure was supposed to end.

The opposition took it to social media. The leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Shobha Surendran, asked Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani to take action against it, tweeting “Chairperson of Kerala Women’s Commission is an intolerant hostile CPI(M) leader who condemned a domestic violence complaint on live TV and condones abuse. Requesting @smiritiirani Ji to kindly intervene.”

The Congress also conducted protests outside CPI(M) headquarters for the dismissal of Josephine.

Kerala Pradesh Mahila Congress tweeted, “Kannur Dist Mahila Congress president Ms. Rajani Ramanand led a protest demanding the resignation of MC Josephine, Chairperson, WC, who behaved rudely to a woman complainant, which was inaugurated by Shri. Satheesan Pacheni, president, DCC.”

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