Union Minister Vayalar Ravi today apologised for his sexist remarks against a woman journalist when he was asked about Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien's role in Suryanelli gangrape case.
"I am sorry for the comment. I have already conveyed my regret for the remark to the TV channel in which the journalist works," Ravi said.
When a lady journalist asked him about the Kurien case, Ravi said nothing will happen to her and asked whether she had anything personal against the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson. He went on to ask, "Did he (Kurien) do something to you?, sparking an outrage among the scribes.
The Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said he has called up the lady journalist and apologised for the comment.
"I have been misunderstood. I always joke with journalists. There is nothing deliberate. Everyone took it as a joke," he claimed.
BJP slammed Ravi for making such remarks and demanded a public apology from him.
"We condemn the behaviour of Vayalar Ravi towards a lady journalist. It is extremely unfortunate that he has misused his authority and position to intimidate a journalist who was only asking a question which fell within the ambit of her professional responsibility," BJP Mahila Morcha Chief Smriti Irani said.
She said Ravi's behaviour was a matter of "deep concern" and wondered what his conduct would be when there are no cameras around.
Irani said Ravi's body language while he was interacting with the journalist was shocking.
"Congress is now saying that since Ravi has retracted his statement the matter should rest. We demand a public apology from him, and not only to the individual but the nation at large," she said.
The BJP leader said Ravi's conduct does not instill confidence among women about their safety and security.