Abhjit Mukherjee says Delhi gangrape protesters ‘dented-painted’ women

FP

The son of President Pranab Mukherjee has described the gangrape protests in New Delhi as a "nautanki", which "beautiful", "highly dented and painted" women had joined because "they have nothing better to do".

As an eruption of outrage on television hit Abhjit Mukherjee, the Lok Sabha MP from Jangipur in Bengal issued an apology and withdrew his remarks. His sister, Kathak exponent Sharmishtha Mukherjee, told The Indian Express she was "shocked and furious", and that these were not the views of the other members of the President's family.

Rashtrapati Bhavan declined to comment officially, but Sharmishtha Mukherjee was quoted by PTI as saying she was "sure" that her father did not agree with her brother, and that he would have been embarrassed.

PTI quoted Abhijit Mukherjee as saying the President had asked him to apologise. "As a father, he (the President) also asked me what prompted you to say that. You are in public life and definitely it will create controversy. You must apologise. I said I have already done (so). My intention was not to hurt anyone. Not to undermine the agitation," the MP said.

The comments which became widely known on Thursday were made by Abhijit Mukherjee in Nalhati (Birbhum) on Wednesday and in his constituency Jangipur on Tuesday.

In Jangipur, he said, "Dilli-te shundor-shundor meyera rong-chong mekhe andolan korte jachchhe... aar kaaj nei, shomoy kata-te jachchhe... (In Delhi, beautiful women are putting on make-up and going out to agitate. They have nothing better to do, so they are going to pass the time.)"

In Nalhati, he said that many of those rushing to the protests in Delhi were not students, "onek activist, rajneeti dhuke porechhe (many activists, politics have entered)", "Dilli hujug-er jaayga, agitation kaar against-e hochchhe bojha jaaye na (Delhi is a place driven by illogical whims, it is difficult to understand what they are protesting against)".

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