Chennai: Hashtags 'Reject Manu' and 'Ban Manusmriti' are trending on Twitter after Tamil Nadu MP Dr. Thol Thirumavalavan's statement on Hindu religious text Manusmriti went viral.
While participating in a webinar last month titled 'Periyar and Indian Politics', Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi Party leader and Member of Parliament from Chidambaram Constituency made criticisms on the oldest religious text Manusmriti. BJP functionary Kalyana Raman attacked Thirumavalavan by releasing an edited version of his webinar. Following a complaint filed by A Ashwathaman, State secretary of BJP's legal cell, the City police filed an FIR on Friday against the MP of Liberation Panthers Party, VCK. This comes after the party announced a statewide protest on Saturday demanding a ban on Manusmriti which is said to be 'misogynistic and inhuman'.
"All women were belittled and treated badly as per the Hindu dharma," said Thirumavalavan in the webinar. The BJP's latest entrant Khushboo criticized the MP for allegedly making misogynistic statements on women and insulting Hindu text and further demanded an apology from Thirumavalavan. "Beyond politics, I condemn the VCK leader for making such a misogynistic statement. He has chosen to do so without understanding what is in the scriptures," she told in a press meet.
Thirumavalavan on Friday tweeted on the misinterpretation of his statements by "Hindu extremists for the sake of their political strategy". In a video message, he said that Manu ideologues and male chauvinists "misinterpreted" and "distorted" his statement.
By Saturday afternoon state-wide protests took place in Tamil Nadu and Chennai region by burning the Hindu religious scripture Manusmriti attended by thousands. Manusmriti has been burnt in Tamil Nadu several times in the past. On October 30th 1927, MC Raja is said to have burnt the scripture.
"Dr.Thirumavalavan spoke about what is mentioned in Manusmriti. Right-wing is targeting this particular party VCK, because that is the only party in Tamil Nadu which is vehemently opposing BJP and exposing Sangh Pariwar plans which they have decided to implement in Tamil Nadu. VCK is talking about gender and caste discrimination, addressing atrocities against women, Muslims, Dalits and Christians. The protest of VCK is a kind of retaliation to what BJP is trying to propagate falsely. We are protesting with a message that Thirumavalavan is not against women. Rather, we are proposing the ban of Manusmriti for protecting the rights of women," Prof. Semmalar Selvi, Dalit Rights Activist told Madhyamam.
"Sanatan Manu Dharma is against women. Right-wing followers should be angry with Manusmriti, a religious text which upholds systematic oppression and shaped patriarchal notions. Why are they now criticizing Thirumavalavan for pointing out what is mentioned in the text and Sanatan dharma? We demand the immediate withdrawal of FIR against the MP. In fact, Kalyana Raman should be booked under SC, ST Atrocities Act for using wild language against the MP in a disrespectful manner," Geeta Charusivam, Social Activist from Makkal Mandram shared her thoughts in a webinar at 'Tamil Roasters'.
"Savarna Brahmin women need to understand what is Manusmriti and why the Bahujan sisters call it a book of inequalities. Women are treated as unequal and always been placed in a subordinate position. Try to read the text, if possible. Do you know where Manusmriti places us?" She further adds.
DMK leader MK Stalin said, "Instead of diverting the speech of Thirumavalavan, police should take action against religious fanatics who spread violence on social media. The action of police against Thirumavalavan is condemnable and should be withdrawn immediately."