Islamic scholar retracts statement on women reservation

Sunni leader Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar, who yesterday courted controversy for speaking against reservation for women in elections, on Friday said his statements were "distorted" to tarnish the image of the organisation he represents.

Thiruvananthapuram: Sunni leader Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar, who yesterday courted controversy for speaking against reservation for women in elections, on Friday said his statements were "distorted" to tarnish the image of the organisation he represents.

Musaliar, the general secretary of All India Sunni Jam-iyyathul Ulama, had told a regional channel yesterday that 50 per cent reservation of seats for women in civic polls was "too high".

However, when contacted, the leader told PTI that he had not said anything against women reservation.

"What I said was people who brought the women reservation bill themselves had expressed opinion that the quota for women was too high. I just quoted their views," Musaliar said.

The 76-year-old Musaliar said, "I do not have the opinion that women are inefficient. But those who come into power should be capable and knowledgeable."

"My opinion is that women not only need reservation but also protection in the society. Government should take initiative in this regard," he said.

The leader also said his statement on the women reservation was distorted to tarnish the image of his organisation and the religion he represents.

"Women's education is one of our main agenda," Musaliar said, adding that out of over one lakh students studying under the Markaz, an academic and charitable organisation run by him, 30 percent are women.

The statement by Musaliar, known for his hardcore conventional stand, triggered a row with many woman leaders coming out against the statement.

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP and leader of All India Democratic Women's Association, the women's wing of the CPI(M), TN Seema said Musaliar's statement was a "challenge to the women community".

She said the leader had made similar "anti-woman" statements in the past also. 

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