Bengaluru: Taking responsibility for his reprehensible “enjoy rape” remark, former Karnataka assembly speaker and senior Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday apologised for what he called his “indifferent and negligent” comment in the state assembly. He went on to describe his “when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it” remark as an “off-the-cuff remark” in his clarification.
“My intention was not trivialise or make light of the heinous crime, but an off-the-cuff remark! I will choose my words carefully henceforth!” Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar wrote in a tweet last night.
The deplorable comment was made during a discussion on farmers’ issues when Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri questioned how the session can be conducted if time was allotted to everyone.
“Whatever you decide – I will say yes. What I am thinking is that let us enjoy the situation. I can’t control or regulate the system. My concern is about the business of the house, it has also to be covered,” he asked.
To this, the Congress MLA said, “There is a saying that when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it. That is exactly the position which you are in.” Shockingly, others in the state assembly laughed in response.
I would like to express my sincere apologies to everyone for the indifferent and negligent comment I made in today’s assembly about “Rape!” My intention was not trivialise or make light of the heinous crime, but an off the cuff remark! I will choose my words carefully henceforth!
— K. R. Ramesh Kumar (@KRRameshKumar1) December 16, 2021
However, the remark was later met with huge criticism. “The comment is obnoxious and outright disgraceful. He is a serial offender while he was the Speaker of the assembly he had made a similar comment. Now again, he has repeated it. The Congress, which has always claimed it is there for women’s safety and security, must immediately initiate action against this serial offender, ” BJP leader S Prakash remarked.
In the state assembly, the Congress leader today said, “If it (my comment) hurts the sentiments of women, I’ve no problem apologising. I apologise from the bottom of my heart.”
The apology was backed by the Speaker who was seen laughing at the comment: “He has apologized, let’s not drag it further.”
Just minutes before he had refused to make any comment as journalists tried to question him outside the assembly, a video of that time was also tweeted by a media house.
— ANI (@ANI) December 17, 2021
Lashing out at his party colleague, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala this afternoon tweeted, “Congress Party disapproves the exchange of highly objectionable & insensitive banter between Karnataka Assembly Speaker & Sr. Congress MLA in the House. (sic)”
Congress Party disapproves the exchange of highly objectionable & insensitive banter between Karnataka Assembly Speaker & Sr. Congress MLA in the House.
Speaker as custodian & Sr legislators are expected to be role models & should desist from such unacceptable behaviour.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 17, 2021
This is not the first time that the 72-year-old Congress leader has made such an objectionable comment. In 2019, he had compared himself to a “rape survivor” when he had referred to repeated reference to charges against him on being part of some controversial audiotapes, saying, “situation was like that of a rape victim, as they too are supposedly questioned about the incident repeatedly”.