Thiruvananthapuram : Nurses and women’s activists in Kerala are up in arms against senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas over his “racist and sexist” remarks on nurses from the southern Indian state.
Kumar, who is a member of the Political Affairs Committee of the fledgling party, made the controversial comments during a stage show at Ranchi.
A YouTube video clip showed him saying, “Earlier nurses used to come from Kerala, kali-peeli (dark skinned), one would naturally feel like calling them sister whereas the North Indian nurses who are replacing them now make people stay in the hospital.”
Representatives of various nurses associations in the state termed the remark made by the poet-turned politician, who is likely to contest against Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at Amethi in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, not only racist but also sexist and added it amounted to insulting the entire women in the country. While the United Nurses Association said they will file a defamation case against Kumar if he did not tender an open apology within a week, the Kerala Government Nurses Association said they would take the path of agitation against the AAP leader.
Association president O S Moli said that their executive meeting here on January 22 will finalize the course of agitation. She asked how the women could trust the AAP when it is controlled by leaders like Vishwas. Association secretary Nisha Hameed said the comments showed that the AAP was not a party of the common man but that of the elites.
The women would take brooms (the AAP symbol) against Vishwas if he did not withdraw it. T N Seema, Member of Rajya Sabha and Vice-President of the pro-Communist Party of India (Marxist) All India Democratic Women’s Association demanded the arrest of Vishwas as the ‘sexually coloured’ remarks was an offence under the new law.
Prominent writer and social activist Sara Joseph, who joined the AAP recently, also came out strongly against Vishwas. Condemning the remarks, she urged the party leadership to state whether what Vishwas said was the party’s stand.
A spokesman of the Kerala unit of the party clarified that the remark was a joke and it was not the stand of the party. This is not the first time Vishwas is courting trouble. He had earned the wrath of his own party men for calling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi a Shiva, a Hindu God.
His party colleague Mallika Sarabhai termed the views he expressed in a YouTube video as “anti-minority, anti-women and misogynist.”