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Published in the 1-15 June 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Sushma Swaraj owes apology: Agnivesh 

New Delhi: Eminent social worker and thinker Swami Agnivesh on May 19 charged BJP leader Sushma Swaraj with ''insulting and degrading Indian women for political gains'' and demanded that she should apologise and do penance by renouncing politics.

The Sushma we missed
The Sushma we missed

The working president of World Council of Arya Samaj said that by holding out the threat that she would don the apparel of a Hindu widow in case Ms Gandhi became the Prime Minister, Swaraj has insulted Indian women.

He said that Swaraj was propagating the stereotype of a Hindu widow which said that her head must be tonsured, she should be clad only in white clothes, eat only roasted grams and sleep on the floor. 

''This is the stereotype that Swaraj wants to foist on India of the 21st century,'' he pointed out. 

''It is people like her and the so-called sanyasin who rules Madhya Pradesh who lend legitimacy to the male conspiracy to supress the women of India. People like her are the servile tools in the hands of male dominated, obscurantist outfits that discredit our religion, culture and nationhood. It is they who stigmatize widowhood and / or glorify Sati, the self-immolation of the widow,'' he said. Swami Agnivesh called upon the women of the country to rise against these insults. The Vedas warn that a country in which women are degraded could not receive the blessings of God, he said.

''It is high time we respected the rights and dignity of our mothers, sisters and daughters. I call upon women across the country to unite and fight these uncivilised agents and mouthpieces of oppression and discrimination,'' he said.
Swami Agnivesh demanded that Swaraj apologise to women and do penance by renouncing her political ambitions and position, ''the lust for which has made her commit this atrocity.'.

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