Khattar’s ‘joke’ ruffles many feathers with comment on Kashmiri women

New Delhi, August 10: A “joke” that Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made in public on the benefits of Centre move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status has raised a controversy. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking a ‘discipline’ class for BJP leaders last week, Mr Khattar’s comments seen as sexist came after a BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh earlier this week said ┬áparty workers could now marry “fair Kashmiri women”.

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“Our minister Dhankhar ji used to say that we will have to bring daughters-in-law from Bihar if the number of girls reduced in the state. Now people say that since Kashmir is open, we can bring girls from there. Jokes apart, if there is a good (sex) ratio, the balance in the society will be set right,” Mr Khattar said at a rally in Haryana’s Fatehabad on Friday, according to news agency ANI.

In a bizarre promise to young men of Haryana in 2014, BJP leader OP Dhankar had said he would bring brides from Bihar for them if they were unable to find a match in the state infamous for its skewed sex ratio.

“The state of Haryana has been infamous for skewed sex ratio. People used to say that girl children are killed here. We launched a campaign to save the girl child in the state. Earlier, the sex ratio was 850 against every 1,000 boys. Now it stands at 933 in the state,” Mr Khattar said.

Residents of Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed dual citizenship under the special status, which they would lose only if they married people from other states. There is no dual citizenship now.

Rahul Gandhi condemned Mr Khattar for his remarks. “Haryana CM, Khattar’s comment on Kashmiri women is despicable and shows what years of RSS training does to the mind of a weak, insecure and pathetic man. Women are not assets to be owned by men,” Mr Gandhi tweeted. Congress MP PL Punia said, “Manohar Lal Khattar is chief minister and should not give irresponsible statement.”

Mr Khattar hit back at the Congress leader, saying he “shouldn’t react on distorted news”.

Mr Khattar has been in the news for controversial remarks seen as misogynistic in the past too. In November 2018, he said women file false rape cases to get back at estranged male friends. “Around 80-90 per cent of the rape and molestation cases happen between people who are familiar with each other. They roam around together for days, and when they finally squabble one day, the woman files an FIR saying that she has been raped,” he had said at a rally in Haryana.

PM Modi had organised a two-day orientation programme for BJP leaders on August 3 and 4 enhancing parliamentary and public conduct. All through his second tenure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed on discipline, punctuality and not speaking out of turn.

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