In the recent scheme of political conflicts, President Droupadi Murmu had to face some disrespectful controversial remarks about her appearance from Trinamool Congress (TMC) minister Akhil Giri, who has since been under great scrutiny of the public and his political counterparts.
Giri has landed himself in the hot waters of the legal system because of his uncalled-for comments on the Indian head of state. On Thursday, while addressing the people in Nandigram, Akhil Giri, West Bengal’s Minister for Correctional Administration, commented on the appearance of the president while trying to excuse some comments on his looks.
Giri said, “He (Suvendu Adhikari) said that I am not good-looking. How beautiful is he? We don’t judge anyone by their appearance. We respect the office of the President (of India). But how does our President look?”
Disapproving problematic comments on Murmu’s looks and background are not uncommon; it will not be wrong to say that bigotry runs deep within the Indian political system.
After a clip of Giri’s comment went viral, it drew attention from the opposition. The leaders have heavily criticised Giri for his remarks and called for his dismissal from the TMC, along with a public apology from party supremo Mamta Banerjee. Although the party has made it clear that they do not support Giri’s views, and has distanced itself from the controversy, several BJP leaders have asked it to take responsibility.
Condemning Giri’s actions, the TMC released an official statement saying, “We have the utmost respect for Hon’ble President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu. Our party strongly condemns the unfortunate remarks made by MLA @AkhilGiriAITC and clarifies that we do not condone such statements. In the era of women’s empowerment, such misogyny is unacceptable.
On Friday, Giri issued a public apology. While maintaining that he was simply defending himself against body-shaming, he said, “I have taken (an) oath as a minister. I respect both the Constitution and the President. I was referring to comments by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, who kept attacking me over my looks. However, I apologise for my statements and would like to reiterate that I have immense respect for President Droupadi Murmu.” Giri said that as a political leader, an insult to him can be equated to insulting the constitution.
Despite his attempts at making peace with the apology, on Sunday, November 13, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee from West Bengal’s Hooghly constituency filed a complaint against Giri with the Delhi’s North Avenue police station. Additionally, she has asked the authorities to file an FIR under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
His demeaning words also caused protests in Odisha, where people were enraged about the comments against the “daughter of Odisha”.