Sunni leader Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musliar's controversial remarks against gender equality have triggered a strong reaction from parties and activists who demanded that he withdraw them and apologise.
Opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist and ruling Congress lashed out at the Islamic scholar over his "anti-women" remarks.
Marxist veteran and state Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan alleged that Musliar's remarks were equal to the "anti-democratic" stand of Sangh Parivar and they should be withdrawn.
"His remarks amount to insulting even his (Kanthapuram's) own mother. The statements were equal to the anti-democratic stand of Sangh Parivar. He should withdraw it and tender an apology to women community," Achuthanandan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president V M Sudheeran termed Musliar's statements as "unwarranted" and "anti-women" and said he should withdraw them.
Lashing out at Kanthapuram, the chief of All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama, Mahila Congress state president Bindu Krishna said such remarks were a challenge to the Constitution of the country.
"His remarks are a challenge to the Constitution, which prophesies no discrimination in the name of caste, creed, religion or sex. When he says women and men are never equal, he is actually questioning the integrity of the Constitution," Bindu Krishna told PTI.
She also urged women community, including Muslim women, to stand up and raise their voice against such anti-women remarks.
Naxal-turned activist Ajitha alleged that it was not for the first time that the Sunni leader was making anti-women comments.
"What he said was not only anti-women, but utterly communal. He had insulted all women in the world. What right does he have to make such venomous comments again and again?" Ajitha told PTI.
Muslim Educational Society president Dr P A Fazal Gafoor said such statements were actually giving weapons to Sangh Parivar forces to attack the community.
Triggering controversy, 76-year-old Aboobacker Musliar had yesterday described as "un-Islamic" the concept of gender equality and said that women could never equal men as "they are fit only to deliver children".
He said women had no mental strength and the power to control the universe, "which lies in the hands of men." He also said "gender equality is against Islam, humanity and was intellectually wrong.
The scholar's remarks against reservation for women in elections had set off another controversy recently.
He had said 50 per cent reservation of seats for women in civic polls was "too high" but retracted the statement later.