Prez' son makes sexist remarks, daughter tenders apology

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New Delhi, Dec 27: President Pranab Mukherjee's son and Congress's sitting MP from Jangipur, West Bengal, Abhijit has sparked controversy by making sexist remarks against women protesters who demanded safety of women in New Delhi last week. Now, President's daughter Sharmistha has expressed shock at her brother's 'dented-painted' remark and apologised for it.

"I'm utterly shocked and shaken and I really apologise on my brother's behalf," Sharmistha said.

Sharmistha insisted that her brother must apologise for his remarks.

Pranab Mukherjee's son said it's fashionable to attend protest march now, while he was speaking at an event in West Bengal. Abhijit Mukherjee said that dented and painted women protesters in Delhi went to discotheques and then turned up at India Gate to express outrage over the gangrape in Delhi. He also said that they were not in touch with ground realities.

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"What's basically happening in Delhi is a lot like Egypt or elsewhere, where there's something called the spring revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities. In India, staging candle-lit marches, going to discotheques - we did all this during our student life too, we were students too - I know very well what kind of character students should have. Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them - highly dented-painted (sic) - they're giving interviews on TV, they've brought their children to show them the scenes. I have grave doubts whether they're students, because women of that age are generally not students," Abhijit Mukherjee said.

But his father Pranab, while addressing students and teachers at ninth convocation of Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology in Allahabad, on Tuesday called for changing "negative perceptions" about women. "Women must be treated with respect and should be provided a safe, secure and congenial environment in which their talents can flower and they can contribute their full share in the building of our nation," the President had said.

"The nation has been witnessing anger and rage of our youth, who have gathered on the streets of Delhi and other cities to demand stronger measures to ensure the safety of women and more stringent laws to provide deterrent penalty to criminals, who endanger our women. I am certain that the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that such incidents do not occur in future," he said. The President pointed out that the Prime Minister had said all possible efforts to ensure the security and safety of women would be made.

To the protesters, the President said, "Your anger is justified. I understand the agony of young minds, but please remember nothing is achieved through violence." Even the President's daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee has demanded death penalty for the Delhi gangrape perpetrators.

Speaking at the International Alumni Convention at the Banaras Hindu University, she expressed her concern for the young medical student, who was gang-raped aboard a moving bus in the national capital, while adding that she is not in favour of death for anyone but this horrendous case is an exception. Sharmistha also felt that she didn't feel quite safe herself. She wondered if the Capital wasn't secure for women, their plight in the rest of the country couldn't be imagined.

"I feel threatened, I feel scared after a close friend of mine told me about how she was robbed by assailants in the dark," she added. Women across India are fuming over President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit's sexist remarks. Last week Delhi saw large-scale protests, hugely participated by women to demand safety for females. The protests were triggered after the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus by six men.

The woman is currently critical and Wednesday night she was flown to Singapore for further treatment. Abhijit's comments must have embarrassed President. In October this year, Abhijit won the Jangipur Lok Sabha by-election. The by-election was held as the seat had fallen vacant after Pranab Mukherjee was elevated to the highest office of the country.

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