Thodupuzha: In yet another foot-in-the-mouth remark, Kerala electricity minister M.M. Mani has passed sleazy comments against a group of women plantation workers who rose to fame through their weeks-long strike in Munnar.
Workers of Pembilai Orumai, an all-woman collective which had staged a path-breaking stir against labor injustice in plantation sector in Munnar, have blocked a road in Munnar seeking an apology from the minister.
Gomathy Sebastian, who heads the movement, said they would call off the strike only after Mani apologizes to them in person. The police's attempt to arrest and remove Gomathy from the road led to a skirmish between her supporters and the cops.
“Mani became minister after gathering votes of women too. He should resign,” Gomathy said.
The protesters were unmoved even after Mani expressed regret over the incident. Mani told reporters that his statement was misconstrued.
In a lewd remark, Mani Saturday alleged that immoral activities had taken place in the forests near the protest venue during the month-and-a-half strike. In the same speech, Mani had also insulted Devikulam subcollector Sriram Venkitaraman who is heading an anti-encroachment drive in the hilly district.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and party leaders A.K. Balan, P.K. Sreemathi and T.N. Seema have denounced Mani's comments. The BJP-led NDA has called for a hartal in Idukki district Monday seeking Mani's resignation.