Tuesday 18 September, 2018

Watch: PM apologises to Hindu community over sari skit

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley ‘unreservedly apologized’ for the controversial sari skit portrayed at a PNM family day last Sunday, saying he has since spoken with Hindu religious leaders and learned the religious significance of the portrayal.

Dr Rowley issued the apology while speaking at a public meeting in Arima on Saturday night.

 

Dr Rowley was referring to a skit which showed a woman wearing a yellow sari, who was made to unravel it by men referred to as PNM guerrillas, revealing a PNM t-shirt underneath.

It came after the PNM party received widespread condemnation for the portrayal, with many accusing the party of insulting the Hindu community and disrespecting women.

Scores of women dressed in yellow saris also picketed the Prime Minister’s office in St. Ann’s on Thursday demanding an apology from the Prime Minister.

On Tuesday, in response to the backlash, he initially rubbished the claims as ‘foolishness.’

However, addressing PNM supporters at the Upper Malabar Community Centre in Arima last night, Rowley apologized, explaining that he was unware of the significance of the skit to Hindus.

Rowley said he therefore consulted with the Hindu leadership and said it was only then he understood how deeply hurt and offended they were by the portrayal.

As such, he said the party has no ‘difficulty’ or ‘shame’ in apologizing.

“But the political voices were not the only voices, there were other voices and that caught my attention. And, I decided to see why the Hindu community through its leaders were so offended by our skit. And last week was a learning week for me.”

“I never knew what the Mahabharatha was. Our political opponents were so gleeful in looking for the opportunity to divide and be nasty, that we had to pay attention.”

“And, paying attention, talking to you here tonight, gathered as PNM members and supporters and talking to the national community, we became conscious of the sensitivity. And tonight, on behalf of the People’s National Movement and all concerned, I unreservedly apologize to the Hindu community for that.”

The Prime Minister also dismissed claims that the PNM was glorifying rape culture.

He further thanked the leader of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Sat Maharaj, who said the skit was not insulting to the Hindu community.

 

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