New Delhi: Following her sensational claim that Parliament is not immune to practices like casting couch, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury on Tuesday clarified that casting couch implies taking away privileges from women and using it for one’s personal benefit.
In a press conference called by Chowdhury, media persons questioned that she was conflating two different situations, given the casting couch was specific to the film and TV industry. To this, Chowdhury responded, “What is casting couch? It is a terminology, it is not narrowed down to one sphere. It means that you will take away the privileges of a woman and use it for your personal benefit, or in lieu of other compensations.”
She added that her dignity as a woman was also taken away in the Parliament when Prime Minister Narendra Modi mocked her for laughing in the middle of his speech, in February, “My dignity as a woman was taken away in Parliament, when Prime Minister spoke in derogatory way. How can a Prime Minister say that I remind him of Surpanakha?”
“When Home Minister (MoS) Kiren Rijiju posts offensive videos against me because I dared to speak, or when they talk in the way that is derogatory to my status as a woman, it exists in the Parliament,” she continued. The Congress leader further said that sexual harassment was also commonplace in the social media. “Government is bringing an ordinance to hang such people; that is the last mile, what are you doing to prevent rape?” Chowdhury questioned.
Following choreographer Saroj Khan’s remark in defence of the practices of casting couch in the film industry, Chowdhury told ANI that Parliament and other workplaces were also not immune to it. Earlier in the day, Khan had said at an event, “Someone or the other always tries to take an advantage of a girl. The government officials do it too, then why are we only behind the film industry? It (casting couch) provides livelihood at least.”