Not against gender neutrality, no intention to abuse Kerala CM:M K Muneer clarifies

Kozhikode : IUML MLA M K Muneer on Monday clarified that he was not speaking against gender neutrality nor was it his intention to ridicule or abuse Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and said he was only pointing out that it was patriarchy which was deciding gender neutrality.

Speaking at an event here on Sunday, Muneer had alleged that the ruling Left Front was trying to bring in negation of religion in schools through their gender neutral uniforms policy and had questioned why the Chief Minister does not wear a sari and blouse while travelling.

On Monday, he told a TV channel that he was not speaking against gender neutrality.

"When you say gender neutrality, it should work both ways. From where has this belief come that it can be achieved only if women dress like men? That is my only question. Beyond that I have not said anything to abuse or ridicule the CM. If they took it as an abuse, then I would like to say that was not my intention.

"When I asked why the CM cannot wear sari and blouse, I was not saying he should walk around wearing that. It was meant as an example," Muneer clarified.

"I was pointing out that here patriarchy is actually deciding gender neutrality," he further said.

"By patriarchy I mean that the Marxist party (CPI(M)) has not come out of the male dominated society and if you look at their party structure you can see how women are being ignored or sidelined," Muneer claimed.

On whether CPI(M) and IUML can ever join forces, Muneer on Monday said that both parties have different ideologies.

He further said he was not saying that a woman or girl will lose her individuality if they wear shirt and trousers.

"What I am saying is that the government is trying to sneak in negation of religion through their latest education programme," he added.

On Sunday, in his speech at an MSF event, Muneer had said that the gender neutrality policy of the Left government indicates discrimination against women.

"In the name of gender neutrality, they are creating gender inequality," he had alleged.

"Now in the name of gender neutrality, they (State government) are again attempting to bring negation of religion to our schools," he had said.

"Why won't 'churidars' suit boys," he had asked.

When the Balussery government girls higher secondary school here implemented the gender neutral uniform for its students in December last, a section of people under the collective of a Muslim coordination committee had staged a protest march to the institution against the new unisex uniforms.

They had contended that the decision amounted to insulting the modesty of women and that it was part of "imposing liberal ideology" among students.

They had described it as anti-democratic and an encroachment of people's right to wear anything.

Nearly a dozen schools in Kerala had already shifted to gender-neutral uniforms at that time. PTI

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