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Panel says his remark was sexist and misogynistic

The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) have served notices on Madhya Pradesh Congress working president Jitu Patwari for a tweet targeting the Centre, which said it begot five “daughters” — note ban, GST, inflation, unemployment and recession — in a failed attempt to have a “son” called development.

While NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma, taking suo motu cognisance of the tweet, on Thursday sought an explanation from the MLA and former Minister “at the earliest” on the “objectionable tweet”, the NCPCR on the day requested him to apologise to “children of the nation” and inform the commission of it within three days

Describing the remark as “sexist”, the NCW noted Mr. Patwari tried to draw an “obnoxious analogy” between daughters and several economic issues including inflation in his tweet on June 24, when the Congress protested State-wide against the fuel prices hike while heeding a call of party State president Kamal Nath.

The commission, while condemning such “misogynistic comments” on daughters, said they sent out a wrong message to society. “It is very unbecoming of a political leader to make such demeaning and misogynistic remarks against girls,” said a note issued by the NCW.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Mr. Patwari, the child rights panel pointed out the tweet not only supported the “age-old evil” of preferring a boy instead of a girl child leading to high rates of female foeticide in the country, but it further “demonstrated” his mindset and “approach towards the female children in general”.

That as a political leader, the commission added, “it is unethical for you to violate the deepest constraints of morality for the purpose of taking any political digs at anyone else and to achieve greater goods and avoid disasters for the society at large.”

The commission further states the “audacious act” of passing such “disparaging statement” not only “belittles the very existence of the girl children but further takes us decades back, making all the incalculable struggle and sacrifice for achieving gender equality and rights of girl children in vain.”

Recalling the fundamental duty of every citizen under clause (h) of Article 51 A of the Constitution to develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry, the NCPCR said his making the remarks was “unprincipled,” for he was a public representative.

Tweet deleted

Facing flak, Mr. Patwari deleted the tweet on Wednesday night while expressing regret. He tried to clarify in another tweet that daughters were divine for him and the BJP was using his tweet to hide its weaknesses.

Condemning the remarks, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said, “On the one hand the nation is remembering the sacrifice of Rani Durgavati, on the other the Congress is humiliating the daughters... Is it a crime to beget daughters? Has Sonia Gandhi given this leader the right to humiliate half the country’s population?”

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