Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson MC Josephine resigned from her post on Friday after she rebuked a domestic violence survivor during a call-in television programme, The New Indian Express reported. She has headed the women’s panel since 2017.
The programme, hosted by Manorama News on June 23, gave women an opportunity to directly speak to Josephine about their grievances, according to The News Minute.
A woman from Kochi city told the chairperson that she got married in 2014 and has been subjected to domestic violence. Josephine, however, sounded irritated possibly due to poor audio quality. After this, the woman informed her that she was assaulted by her husband and mother-in-law. Josephine sought to know if the woman had filed a police complaint. When she said that had not informed anyone, the chairperson immediately responded, “then you suffer”.
When asked about her comments, Josephine on Friday at first denied making those remarks, ANI reported. “There are women who aren’t willing to listen to us,” she added. “We suggest women to file complaint making the case stronger as we can’t reach everywhere.”
The chairperson also accepted that she should not have reacted in a hostile manner. “I would like to express regret if my words have hurt her,” she said.
The incident caused a controversy, with many Opposition leaders and social media users asking Josephine to resign.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sobha Surendran urged Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani to take action. “Chairperson of Kerala Women’s Commission is an intolerant hostile Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader who condemned a domestic violence complainant on live TV and condones abuse,” she tweeted. “Requesting Smriti Irani to kindly intervene.”
The Congress also held protests outside the CPI(M) headquarters demanding Josephine’s removal.
Many CPI(M) members also censured Josephine for making such comments while holding a constitutional post, The Indian Express reported. At a meeting of the ruling party in the state secretariat, members were not satisfied with her explanation and Josephine submitted her resignation at their insistence. Her five-year term was to end next year.