BJP leader stokes controversy in Odisha Assembly with derogatory remarks against Muslim women

Bhubaneswar: BJP’s deputy leader in the assembly Bishnu Sethi stoked a controversy on Thursday when he said ‘Muslim women dominate red-light areas of Mumbai and Kolkata’.

Speaking in support of the ‘triple talaq’ bill in Odisha Assembly, Sethi, quoted ‘survey reports’ during Zero Hour to justify his claim even as members of the Congress and the BJD demanded that the statement be expunged from the records.

“What’s wrong in quoting survey reports in the House?” Sethi asked “I have not made any adverse remarks against any community, but quoted survey reports that say Muslim women dominate the red-light areas in Mumbai and Kolkata.”

The legislator was replying to Congress members, who had criticised the BJP-led central government for pushing through the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in the Parliament.

President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the bill, which makes the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims a punishable offence.

Sethi claimed that some political parties had been opposing the bill with an eye on minority votes.

“The opponents of the triple talaq bill should keep it in mind that the legislation was passed in the Parliament on humanitarian ground to protect the interests of the women at large,” the BJP leader claimed.

Speaker S N Patro said he would examine Sethi’s remarks and requested the Congress members to return to their seats. When the agitating MLAs refused to budge, Patro adjourned the House till lunch.
“Both Congress and BJD members have slammed the Deputy LoP Bishnu Sethi for his derogatory remarks against the women of a particular religion. Usage of such words should be avoided inside the House because they can lead to communal tension in the State,” said senior Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra.

Similarly, OPCC Chief Niranjan Patnaik criticised Sethi and said, “Respecting women is in our culture. The BJP leader should take back his statements or else Congress will resort to dharna.”