AAP's Ashutosh slams action against him after coming under fire for referring to Nehru, Gandhi in open letter

Under attack for his controversial blog defending sacked Delhi minister Sandeep Kumar, AAP leader Ashutosh on Tuesday said the police case against him was an "infringement" on his right to freedom of expression.

He also hit out at the media, saying it was indulging in "vulturisation" and "doing embedded journalism". In a series of tweets, the AAP leader lashed out at his critics and said that the atmosphere is created where critical analysis of history was not being allowed.

Coming at his rescue, veteran journalist and NDTV's senior editor Barkha Dutt said, "Kind of idiotic to make @ashutosh83B legally answerable for a column which he wrote when there was no rape complaint known."

In his blog on NDTV website Ashutosh had written, "This video encompasses pictures of a man and woman indulging in a sexual act. The video clearly establishes that both individuals knew each other and consented to sex in a private space away from the public glare. The question then is that if two consenting adults are physically involved with each other, is it a crime?"

Coming to the sacked leader's aid, Ashutosh in an open letter, which was published by NDTV, questioned the rationale behind sacking the leader. "The question then is that if two consenting adults are physically involved with each other, is it a crime?"

AAP leader Ashutosh.

AAP leader Ashutosh.

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Ashutosh said that his relationship with Sarla Chaudhary, a distant relative of Rabindra Nath Tagore, had disturbed a lot of people, including his wife Kasturba, Nehru, C Rajagopalachari, but Gandhi never budged. In fact, in his later days, Gandhi "slept naked with his two nieces to experiment with celibacy," Ashutosh wrote.

Ashutosh cited examples of RM Lohia, who was in a live-in relationship; Atal Bihar Vajpayee, who never married but was in a relationship with his college friend and George Fernandes, who 'was married to Laila Kabir, but this was never a problem for his friendship with Jaya Jaitley."

"Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's reported affairs with many female colleagues were juicy gossip but it didn't spoil his political career. His relationship with Edwina Mountbatten is widely discussed. The entire world knew about it. Their affections continued till Pt. Nehru's last breath. Was it a sin?" Ashutosh further added in the letter.

Kumar was arrested on Saturday night after a woman seen in a video with him in a "compromising position" complained that she had been drugged and raped a year ago.

Following the blog, the National Commission for Women (NCW) summoned the Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson.

"We have asked him to come on 8 September. This is in response to what we feel is a very reprehensible and demeaning blog Ashutosh wrote, where he defended a man accused of rape," NCW Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam had said.

"...The Commission has taken a note in the larger interest because we feel that as a spokesperson of a party that governs Delhi and a party whose members have been accused of many incidents of violence against women he should not be writing a blog like this which reeks of patriarchy and misogyny," she had said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Sep 06, 2016 13:11 PM

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