National / World

Government plays down sexist comments of Vayalar Ravi

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS): Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari Thursday said that his colleague and Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi has apologised for his sexist comments, and the matter should rest there.

Tewari said the remark was unbecoming for someone working in the public sphere, but since Ravi had apologised and withdrawn his remarks, the matter should now be put to rest.

A woman journalist in Kerala sought Ravi's reaction Thursday to attempts to make Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien stand trial in the Suryanelli sex case. Vayalar Ravi responded with a personal swipe at the reporter, asking if she had a personal grudge against Kurien.

"Do you have anything personal against Kurien? I am sure you do. Has something happened between you and him in the past?" Ravi had asked the woman journalist. The comments were caught on camera.

"Such a comment is not expected from anyone in the public sphere," Manish Tewari told women journalists Thursday at the Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC) in New Delhi.

He urged the media people to lay the matter to rest since Ravi had since offered an apology and retracted his comments.

"To the best of my knowledge he has retracted the comments and expressed regret. Let us leave it there," he said.

Commenting on the rape charges against P.J. Kurien in the Suryanelli case, Tewari said the matter was being sensationalised, and the legal procedure would be followed.

The Suryanelli sex scandal gets its name from the place in Idukki district from where the victim hailed. In Jan 1996, a 16-year-old girl was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor, and later taken from place to place for 45 days and subjected to sexual assault by 42 men.

The case returned to the limelight after the Supreme Court Jan 31 ordered a retrial in the high court, setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused.

The victim, now 32 years old and an employee of the state government, and her family have consistently maintained that Congress leader P.J. Kurien should stand trial in the case, as he was among those who exploited her.

They allege that Kurien was shielded from the law because of his political influence.

Comment on this article

  • Enkay, Mangalore/Kolkata

    Fri, Feb 15 2013

    As expected, Govt tries very hard to down play the sexist remarks of Vayalar Ravi. I had a look at the TV news clippings & it was evident that Ravi was enforcing these comments too directly in an overt & underlying tone & demeanour that just does not suit his stature. But then like all true blue Kerala politicians, he too has lowered his public stature in this comments. Kerala is a pro- men community. Though the state augurs well on most economic figures & statistcis, truth is that women are supressed & oppressed. Be it Hindus, Muslims , Christians - all three major communities suppress their womenfolk to the 2nd levels. This is evident in their politics as well as communal rituals & practices. Women are 2nd grade citizens & they fear to venture out in the town s after 8 PM. See this in major towns of Kerala....Kuriens & Ravi's are the masks of this socitety , a 'Kalank'.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Fri, Feb 15 2013

    ISMAIL.K.PERINJE, PERINJE-YANBU/KSA

    Sonia Gandhi was a BAR DANCER by profession. She was given POLITICS profession by your congress people. How come it become abuse? Don't fool people here.

    Though she is in Delhi and has enormous power, she can not control RAPES being a woman. Congress people raping women can be described as FENCE EATING CROP.

    Have some positive thinking. Come out of your political shell.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • jacob,

    Fri, Feb 15 2013

    To Mr.Ashly and Allen:You are no way eligible to test the credibility and literacy of Keralites.You must have seen few Keralites arround,but dont generalize everyone.I am not a political follower, but a true Indian.You may comment on the statement of the Minister BUT DON'T DARE TO COMMENT ON KERALITES.Look into the literacy statistics of India and acknowlege where Keralites shine.You dont compare yoursef to a frog in a well.Try to respect your fellow citizens...

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • ashwin colaco, Mangalore , Global citizen currently

    Fri, Feb 15 2013

    Well written Gladson , but i beg to differ .
    when shes a woman journo and he can see that,asking her if she has had a similar incident in person is forget Sexist ..its smarts of arrogance,inability to master ones communication in a position of power .He silenced her using " Phrases " based on her gender .
    If she had refuted forgetting his position in retaliation " why are you getting personal with me , were you also involved " that would have upset him thoroughly.. I see Arnab Goswami using that ploy everyday on 9 PM news .. Dont subscribe to it .. just my thoughts out aloud ...

    Just like the way u brought up democracy and the rest ... Apologies if i have offended you .. like i said just my thoughts ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • ISMAIL.K.PERINJE, PERINJE-YANBU/KSA

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Dinesh Poojari...well well.Who is abusing women in this column?It is you!!!You always addressing Sonia Gandhi as BAR DANCER!!!Abusing of women are rampant by Cong!!!???Are you fooling around?Who is attacking hapless women?I think you know answer better than me..

    DisAgree [10] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • ISMAIL.K.PERINJE, PERINJE-YANBU/KSA

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Dinesh Poojari...well well.Who is abusing women in this column?It is you!!!You always addressing Sonia Gandhi as BAR DANCER!!!Abusing of women are rampant by Cong!!!???Are you fooling around?Who is attacking hapless women?I think you know answer better than me..

    DisAgree [9] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • jeevan, mangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Ayyo congis...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • vijay, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    @Mr.Allen...Are you a born english man?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lancelot N Tauro, manglore - Doha Qatar

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    May be Before delivering the sexiest comments his white lungi folded high up on hips level... ha ha haa..

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Allen, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    What you said is true, Ashley, udupi. When other people used to ask me, why they don't speak Hindi or proper English like other Indians, I used to tell them, they are not from India, they are from Kerala.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashley, udupi

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    If you ask a keralites in gulf, which country he hails from ,the answer will be kerala, like wise our Vayalar Ravi being an Overseas Indian Affairs, might have being thinking he was in another country.IT was just an case of mistaken identity,happening with our retiring politicians.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • naufal, uddabettu

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    yes mr.Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru, congress doestn't respect women's like halappa,renukacharya

    DisAgree [10] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gladson , Brahmavar

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    I am not sure Ravi's comments depict his mentality or not. But for sure, the comments by one gentleman in these columns are mirror not only to his mentality but also personality. Always too early to jump the guns and most of times caught in the battlefield without bullets and more often than not made to bite his own words. Anyhow I am yet to fathom what is 'sexist' in Ravi's question to the female journo? She asked Ravi's reaction on possibility of Kurien being tried for his alleged role in the Iduki case. His response was not 'Yes' or 'No'. Instead he shot back at the journo asking whether she had some personal grudge against Kurien? "Do you have anything personal against Kurien? I am sure you do. Has something happened between you and him in the past?" What is sexist in this question? Does the question in anyway indicate the chauvinistic attitude of Ravi? I am sure even if a male journo had asked the same question Ravi would have shot back in similar tone or words. The problem lies with journo in particular and media in general. The fourth estate of democracy is slowly inching towards becoming a 'rule unto itself' with a fearsome 'touch-me-not' attitude. No one should question journo, no one should question their news (often their personal views), and none should tread into their 'domain'. While they harp that they abide by the law, whenever they are pushed to the corner, they come out with their own laws and Constitution. I don't believe that media should be reined in. But I do believe that media and mediamen should be treated as any other citizens of our country and the same yardstick must be applied across the board for all. For once should they understand the meaning of 'breaking news' and 'raking news', half of their problems will solve without much issue. Dinesh Ravi is minister for 'Overseas Indian Affairs' and not minister to 'Over-see Indians' Affairs'. So ask him the wrong question, he will give you wrong answer.

    DisAgree [18] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    As I said yesterday, most of the congress people have done PG in MRA - Master of Rape Activities.

    Kurien was gold medalist and Ravi was silver medalist in this course. They both studied in RAJIV COLLEGE FOR MRA, Cochin.

    DisAgree [22] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'Lore

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Looks like a comment from an 'Affairs Minister' though!!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Vayalaar Ravi statements tells us congress mentality. No surprise in his statements. This is congress culture. They never respected or protected women. That is why India has become RAPE country.

    Can he assume the journalist is his wife/sister/daughter to understand the intensity of abuse and human sentiments?

    Abusing of women is rampant by congress people. Last month it was President's son and this month Ravi. Next month someone else.

    DisAgree [18] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

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