Hindustani Awam Morcha leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Saturday defended Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s sexist remarks about Bharatiya Janata Party MP Rama Devi in the Lok Sabha this week, ANI reported.
Manjhi, however, used bizarre examples to defend Khan. “When a brother and sister meet, they kiss. Does it equal sex,” Manjhi asked. “A mother kisses her son and the son kisses his mother. Is that sex?” He added that Khan’s statement was misinterpreted and said the Samajwadi MP should apologise but did not have to resign.
Devi was chairing proceedings when Azam Khan made the remarks during a debate on the triple talaq bill on Thursday. When she asked Khan to look at her while speaking as she was in the chair, he said, “Aap mujhe itni achchi lagti hain ki mera mann karta hai ki aap ki aankhon mein aankhein dale rahoon [I like you so much that I wish to look into your eyes and keep looking at you].” Soon, members cutting across party lines had condemned Khan’s remarks and demanded “exemplary action” against him.
On Saturday, Rama Devi had said that she would not accept an apology from Khan for his sexist remarks about her, and would instead seek exemplary punishment for him. She added that she would have forgiven Khan if he had apologised on the same day when he made the remarks.
“Every man has a mother, sister, daughter and wife,” Devi had said. “Azam Khan’s remark is going to hurt not only women but also the dignity of men.”
Speaker Om Birla met MPs from all parties on Friday to discuss Khan’s remarks. The legislators suggested strong action against him, after which the Speaker decided to ask Khan to apologise or face action when the House meets again on Monday.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had defended Khan in the Lok Sabha. Yadav had claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party MPs, not Khan, had used unparliamentary language.