Actor-turned-politician Khushboo Sundar was on Tuesday detained in Tamil Nadu’s Chengalpattu district while she was on her way to protest against a legislator’s comments against religious text Manusmriti, The Hindu reported.
Sundar and her supporters were heading to Chidambaram town to demonstrate against Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader and Lok Sabha MP Thol Thirumavalavan. The police had refused to give permission for the protest.
“Arrested.. been taken in police van, we will fight till our last breath for the dignity of women,” Sundar tweeted. “Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has always spoken about the safety of women and we walk on his path. We will never bow down to the atrocities of few elements out there.”
An unidentified police officer told the newspaper that Sundar and 20 other Bharatiya Janata Party members were taken into preventive custody to avoid tensions in the town.
The official added that they will be charged under Section 151 (knowingly joining or continuing in any assembly of five or more persons likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace) of the Indian Penal Code or Section 7(1)(a) (with intent to cause any person to abstain from doing or to do any act which such person has, a right to do or to abstain from doing, obstructs or uses violence to or intimidates such person) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Sundar told PTI that Thirumavalavan’s comments were against women. “I used to address him only as [an] elder brother and had so much respect for him,” she said. “But, I don’t know how could I address him so after his remark.” She added that the protests won’t stop till Thirumavalavan apologises.
BJP leaders criticised Sundar’s detention. “My very strong condemnation of the arrest of Khushboo Sundar ji and and other members of BJP today who had planned a peaceful protest against Thirumavalavan who is facing a huge public backlash for his speech,” BJP National Executive Member CP Radhakrishnan tweeted. “The entire TN [Tamil Nadu] women are angry with him.”
BJP Tamil Nadu’s State General Secretary KT Raghavan, who was detained, criticised the government for stopping the protestors. “When no action is taken against Thirumavalavan for his derogatory utterances on Hinduism inspite of many complaints lodged with police, myself and @khushsundar arrested on the way to Chidambaram to take part in the democratic protest,” he said in a tweet. “What kind of government is this?”
On Monday, tensions broke out in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district during Thirumavalavan’s visit. BJP workers shouted slogans against him and demanded an apology, according to NDTV. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi shouted counter-slogans. They allegedly threw stones at a police vehicle taking BJP workers away.
A row erupted in Tamil Nadu last week after Thirumavalavan’s speech from September went viral on social media. He had said that Manusmriti demeans women and the lower castes and urged the government to ban the text. The MP added that according to Manu Dharma, all women are created as prostitutes by God.
Sundar quit the Congress and joined the BJP on October 12. She said that people who had no connectivity with the ground reality were dictating terms in the party and also spoke about being suppressed.