Assam TV Channel compares women with shorts to monkeys; draws public ire

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Dispur, Aug 25: A news clip by an Assamese news channel has equated young women in shorts with that of monkeys, giving rise to an uproar in social media.

Pratidin Time opened with a monkey dressed in pants and a voice over in Assamese,"Monkeys have also started wearing clothes and know how to wash clothes, but girls in Guwahati now prefer wearing shorts for comfort. Maybe for them fashion means exposing, resulting in their attire which is shorter than needed."

Assam

The video has a number of clips that shows women walking around in shorts and T-shirts. Protesting against the TV channel, many organised a peace march in Guwahati but the police arrested the participants saying that they violated a curfew, although no curfew was announced.

Minakshi Bujarbaruah, a researcher and gender rights activist, said,"Privacy is being violated. Nowadays, we are more scared of the media than the police because you never know when and where mediapersons will catch us and shame us, in the name of news."

Meanwhile, the channel's editor-in-chief Nitumoni Saikia posted an apology on its Facebook page for hurting people's sentiments unintentionally. Saikia said,"We are responsible for what was aired, but the packaging and some of the content (referring to the part about monkeys) were wrong. Warning has been given to the reporter regarding the matter not to repeat anything similar in future."

Nevertheless, he also justified the channel's stance of showing what was broadcast and said,"Will you go to a wedding to "naamghar" (traditional Assamese prayer hall) wearing a pair of shorts? No. Some things will never be a part of or be welcomed into Assamese society."

He further added that the Assamese society still needs to open up in a lot of things, especially when it came to the length of the clothes.

Currently, the society is divided on the issue. While some say that it is not the liberal ideas that bother them, but the fact that they are destroying the culture and tradition of the state; there are others who say that interference and being judgemental about someone's choices is breach of privacy.

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