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Women Call Out Roshi Bhadain for Anti-Women Stands


The women's organization, Muvman Liberasyon Fam, has called out Roshi Bhadain’s anti-women, misogynist, statements. The MLF on 7 January sent an Open Letter to call on his political allies to distance themselves from his stands against women. The Open Letter, addressed to Messrs Ramgoolam, Bérenger, Duval and Bodha, outlines how Mr. Bhadain denies domestic violence, turning it into collateral “damage” in macho feuds; how he denies a voice to the victims of sexual harassment at work; how he declares “open hunting season” against women nominated to jobs in the financial sector. The letter has also been circulated to other women’s and gender organizations and to women in the Press. The MLF has told LALIT that its aim is to nurture debate on these issues, so as to enable everyone to spot the anti-woman lines that politicians propagate, and to criticize them. The links to the two offending clips (one a video clip on-line, and one a Radio Program) are at the end of the article.

Here is the content of the letter, in its English version (there is also a Kreol version in circulation):

Open Letter to Parliamentary Opposition Leaders

Dear Dr. Navin Ramgoolam and Hon. Messrs. Paul Bérenger, Xavier Duval and Nando Bodha,

We, in the Muvman Liberasyon Fam, write to request you, as leaders of Parliamentary Opposition parties, to distance yourselves from the misogynous comments and tactics of someone who is your ally – Mr. Roshi Bhadain, leader of the Reform Party. We refer, in particular, to what he laid out in his Facebook video post* and on Radio Plus**.

At the same time, we seize the opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year, and to wish you, Dr. Ramgoolam, who have had both Covid and stent surgery, a swift recovery.

In the present socio-political circumstances, we, in the MLF, as an independent women’s association, are constantly confronting the MSM-led Government with demands for women’s emancipation and liberation. We do this on the basis of our program against patriarchy. Some of our confrontations take the form of more general “platforms” of demands – some of these together with other organizations like unions – and others are on a specific issue. At the end of 2021, we called on the Minister for Gender, for example, to publish the existing “Thea Mendelsohn Report” on domestic violence, this issue being in our program, instead of the Minister keeping the Report in a drawer while announcing a new survey on the subject. At the beginning of this year, one of our members, as you probably know, was arrested and injured while politely confronting a police officer in Rose-Belle; you will be aware that we, in the MLF, together with other organizations, after the death of Kaya, set up and helped run JUSTICE: Against Violence by Officers of the State as part of our program against patriarchal hierarchies and their violence. JUSTICE, in turn, developed a Program, and had some victories, including a new law specifically against torture. All this to give the context of our constant struggle for women’s emancipation and for more general liberation from patriarchy – based on our program.

And, we must add, we have a 45-year history of presenting our demands not just to Governments but also to political parties. In particular, we have appealed often, over the course of the years, to you in the Labour Party and the MMM – but also to you in the PMSD – while the Rassemblement Mauricien is a new party. Precisely because we have a long history of making programmatic demands to you, we write you this letter now. We believed we had even won you and your Parties over on many issues. Indeed we have often worked jointly with the women’s wings of your parties, too – on issues as varied as domestic violence, abortion decriminalization, and rape crisis units in hospitals. We believe that your parties do share at least some of our platform, especially on basic issues like recognizing and opposing domestic violence, like giving a fair hearing to victims of sexual harassment, and like the right for women to postulate for all kinds of employment without fear of being hunted down.

Now, your ally in the Opposition, Roshi Bhadain, has gone and declared war on women.

Bhadain Declares War on Women

In his feud against MSM Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and other males, Reform Party leader Roshi Bhadain has gone and declared an all-out ideological war on women.

This is a truly astounding story of patriarchy gone mad.

We call on you to take a public stand.

Background: Macho Feuds

For context, remember that Mr. Bhadain was an MSM Minister until mid-2017. He was even one-time “dauphin” of Aneerood Jugnauth for the post of Prime Minister when SAJ’s son Pravind had resigned pending judgment in the Medpoint corruption case. When the son was found not guilty, Mr. Bhadain famously grabbed this younger Jugnauth’s left hand, pulled it into a most awkward position and kissed it long and hard, thus swearing allegiance to the new MSM leader. But the two “heirs” soon fell out. So, hand-kissing turned into a feud. Both hand-kissing and feuds are characteristics of feudal times, times when patriarchal hierarchies reigned over women even more supremely than they do now under modern capitalism. Perhaps we, women, should have been warned of what was coming.

Anyway Mr. Bhadain took to digging up old dirt on the hand that he had kissed. First, there was when 20 years ago Pravind Jugnauth bought land on Angus Road in his daughters’ names and paid for it by a dodgy arrangement, shifting money through third parties via Britain. For the low-down, Mr. Bhadain relied in part on the UK state apparatus. Then there was the fatal road accident Pravind Jugnauth was involved in 25 years ago. And all the while, Mr. Bhadain famously launched the badinazLakwizinn”. This is a campaign against Jugnauth Jnr’s wife Kobita, who according to phallocrat Bhadain, is the real centre of Government power. The country is, according to this allegation (or is it a joke?) ruled badly not by the Prime Minister but by the “lakwizinn”, that is to say, the “women’s domain”. Mr. Bhadain thus attacks Jugnauth by attacking his wife. This is one of the hallmarks of cowardly patriarchy. We should have been warned by this, too.

Meanwhile, Roshi Bhadain put in a Constitutional Court case to show that the 2019 general elections won by the MSM were not legitimate. His case was thrown out. He is sore. But, win or lose, he does not recognize the legitimacy of his enemy, the Prime Minister. It is more comfortable for him to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of elected MPs in the Jugnauth government than it is for those of you whose members were, in fact, elected in the same electoral process, for the simple reason that your MPs would also not be legitimate. Anyway, Mr. Bhadain is now also a leading member of The Avengers, a team of all-male barristers hovering around former Attorney General Rama Valayden, that has, as its name indicates, given itself the role of cleaning up the country by means of vengeance, in times of the pandemic when lawyers, like others, are short on work. We agree there is plenty to set right in the country. But by these macho methods, we say “no way”.

Mr. Bhadain, to round up on “the context”, is – which is why we write to you – part of the Opposition common front the Alliance de L’Espoir together with you, Messrs Bérenger, Duval and Bodha, and he is part of the Opposition camp, in which you, Dr. Ramgoolam, are leader of the biggest party. But we must point out that we realize that Mr. Bhadain – not unlike yourselves – is an ex-co-minister with Jugnauth and his MSM; lest we forget how fickle these hand-kissings and feuds are. Because you are Mr. Bhadain’s ally, you would perhaps do well to remember that his actions reflect upon both himself and you, if you remain silent.

Now in the present, Mr. Bhadain’s alleged involvement, 10 years ago, in a massive antique teak wood theft, when he was a top investigator at ICAC (Anti-Corruption Agency), has come back to haunt him. Or, has it been dug up? Either way, it has come back and is part of the present feud.

Patriarchy Strikes Hard

Now in the present, when, on 10 December, a case of domestic violence occurred, it was your ally, M. Bhadain’s brother-in-law, a cadre at the Financial Services Commission, who was the perpetrator. That seems clear.

Bhadain talks as though this is the first case of domestic violence he has ever encountered. Yet, the tragedy followed the pattern of many such cases. His brother-in-law went home armed with a knife. He stabbed his wife, Priya who is Mr. Bhadain’s sister, in her neck, missing her jugular by millimetres, stabbed her in the abdomen and on her hands. He nearly killed her. When their 17-year-old daughter intervened, he stabbed her, too. He then went on to stab himself in the heart the same afternoon, and to die. The man also had a box of matches in an envelope, so we presume he would have poured something inflammable on his victim and then set her alight, as a fall-back plan.

This was a classic, if extreme, example of domestic violence, in its later phases, ending in tragedy. The widow and child in this case have, like so many of us women and children, paid a high price – in terms of both physical and emotional violence. Our thoughts are with them in this terrible moment. The perpetrator has, tragically, paid with his own life for his violence.

And it is from here onwards that further attacks begin by Mr. Bhadain against women. And thus our letter to you, as his ally, requesting you to take a stand.

Stop Removing blame from Macho Perpetrators

As usual, the first thing that ruling patriarchy has to do in cases of domestic violence is to remove blame from the male perpetrator.

Usually, the Press announces it: “L’infidelité de sa femme la cause du crime”. They manage to get the excuse for the man announced before even getting to the news of the femicide. In this case, “Divorce”, Le Defi headlined, “seems the cause”. The woman, Priya’s action in seeking divorce is supposedly the cause of her being assaulted. Not the man who did the stabbing. In the women’s movement, we call for respect for a woman’s decision to proceed with a divorce. Women do not take this decision lightly. And we call for people to blame the perpetrator for his acts of violence. He stabbed her. It is that simple.

Roshi Bhadain, however, comes up with a different way to remove blame from his brother-in-law. The man stabbed his wife, not because he is a violent man but because of a letter he received from his boss. That was, according to Bhadain, the cause: the man had a grievance against some other man. The women injured are so much unfortunate collateral damage. And they do not even benefit from being able to tell their story.

Attack Against Women I: Pretending Domestic Violence Does not Exist

So, it was not a case of domestic violence by his brother-in-law, according to Bhadain. It was the result, Bhadain claims, of the FSC boss writing a letter of suspension to his brother-in-law. This letter informing him of possible disciplinary action at work “caused”, Bhadain says, his wife to start divorce proceedings, which “caused” Bhadain’s brother-in-law to stab her, before committing suicide. Why did his brother-in-law, if he is cross with his boss, and if violence is OK, not, for example, go stab the boss? Why stab his wife’s neck open with a knife? Why stab her in her tummy? Why injure his daughter? Better still, why does he not just face up to the disciplinary hearing like anyone else? And face up to the divorce, too. Why does he resort to violence at all? And why on earth attack, of all people, his wife? These are the questions all domestic violence throws up. Bhadain’s excuse is a deranged argument. How does he justify it?

The short answer is he cannot. So, Bhadain claims, in a Radio Plus program, that firstly it is all supposedly established by the arcane legal theory “The Doctrine of Causation”. He even calls on Avengers’ leader Rama Valayden, sitting next to him, as witness. When a man suddenly invokes a legal doctrine, you can guess he is masking a weak argument. Read the bare-bones of his argument to understand how weak an argument it is: The man stabbed his wife in the neck because he got a letter from his boss. Second, Bhadain invokes, on his post, a long list of gods who are all on his side, live on radio: Krishna, Dharma, Allah, Jesus Christ, God the Father, no exaggeration. Over the radio, he refers to Gita Jayanti. He is doing his “dharma”, he says. He is the weapon, he says, of Lord Krishna. This kind of invocation, too, betrays his need to shroud his non-arguments in a chilling veil of religiosity.

To blame the man’s work problems for his violent assault on his wife is to justify all domestic violence.

This is the first reason we accuse Bhadain of declaring war on women.

Attack Against Women II: He Ignores Sexual Harassment Charges

The second attack comes when we go into the detail as to what the problem at work actually was.

The brother-in-law was suspended from work because he was under investigation for sexual harassment. Bhadain reads from the suspension letter:

-- “repeatedly been asking her [a young intern] to come to your desk and you have been asking her personal questions”,

-- “told her a few times that she should be maintaining good relationship with you as you will be the one signing her testimonial at the end of her internship”;

-- called her to his desk and gave her “a small tap on her thigh” – “she was wearing a dress on that day”;

-- at a work-related meeting he would “deviate from the subject matter” and talk about things like “which tattoo you should get”, and asking her why she avoided him and after the meeting asked her “to come to your desk” so he could “chit-chat” with her;

-- he informed another woman he was annoyed after this last meeting, constantly complaining that the intern was “so stony towards you”.

The brother-in-law’s boss gives him only two days to reply, and this, we agree with Mr. Bhadain, is illegal and unjust and unacceptable. His brother-in-law only had to say so.

Suspension and barring from the premises are, by contrast, often appropriate. The young woman’s complaint of sexual harassment is, however, just swept aside by Roshi Bhadain in old-fashioned patriarchal arrogance as so much dirt. The young woman who made it does not, he pretends, merit notice. She, too, is not given a voice at all. Even when the FSC publishes a communiqué afterwards, Bhadain brushes this, too, aside with all its apparent corroboration by two other women: 

“1. In April 2018, there was a written complaint for sexual harassment made by a lady employed by the FSC against the staff concerned, for which a verbal warning was administered to him [the brother-in-law]. 

“2. In June 2020, there was another written complaint for harassment and intimidation made by another lady employee against him and another verbal warning had been administered to him. He had submitted a letter of apology to the lady. 

“3. In November 2021, a third written complaint was received from a lady intern for sexual harassment on her person as well as blackmailing.

“4. In the light thereof, the FSC after obtaining legal advice, decided to suspend the staff concerned pending inquiry. 

“5. The allegations to the effect that the reason for his suspension was that his post would have been given to another staff is unfounded, baseless and false.”

Both this communiqué dated 14 December and the letter Bhadain read out, outline what is, in our Association’s 45-year experience, a fairly standard, fairly typical sexual harassment charge. This charge, however, is compounded by there being three women, not just one, making a complaint, by allegations of actual physical touching, and by alleged blackmail. Bhadain just brushes all three women’s complaints aside as if the women were so much dust on a bit of furniture. Mr. Bhadain’s only reply is that the FSC denies that a “staff” was groomed to replace the brother-in-law, when they should, in his view, have denied that it was a “contractual worker”. Talk about a koze dekuyone. Imagine his only reply to this damning communiqué being on the technicality of the definition of “staff” or the drafting.

But, to Bhadain, just as domestic violence is not the perpetrator’s fault but someone else’s, so sexual harassment claims by women against men are also not the men’s fault. The perpetrator is again exempted.

Or does Mr. Bhadain mean these rude things – domestic violence and sexual harassment – don’t happen in his family? He said as much on Radio. And he goes further. It is him, Mr. Bhadain, who is the victim. He is the Chief of his family and his family has been destroyed. Pity poor him. Yes, he, Mr. Bhadain claims to be the victim of the stabbing and of the accusations of sexual harassment. He is the victim because his family has been “detrir”. And the main thing to rectify, according to him, is, as his supporters tell him, “Don’t let yourself be destabilized!”

Anyway, Bhadain turns the three women who have reported cases of suffering sexual harassment over the course of three years, just as he did his sister and niece, into suddenly-discovered collateral damage in his feud against his macho enemies. And once again he excuses the perpetrator. All the real victims of patriarchy are reduced to being mere “extras” in a feud between Bhadain as clan chief and other macho men, who are also presumably clan chiefs.

Is Bhadain saying that the bosses at the FSC are alleging he, Bhadain, got his inside information from his late brother-in-law? And that that is what the feud is about? Who knows? Whatever. It is just not relevant for justifying his brother-in-law’s violence against an intimate partner, nor for denying charges of sexual harassment against him over three years and without so much as the women victims being given a hearing.

Anyway, in the women’s movement we insist that people listen to women who make sexual harassment complaints. We expect bosses to open internal inquiries and to institute disciplinary proceedings, when necessary. In the meantime, we expect men to be suspended, if necessary, and barred from the worksite. These are all things we have struggled for. From 1977 onwards. The MLF famously wrote to the National Organization of Women in the USA demanding they call for Democrat President Bill Clinton’s resignation after his abuse of an intern, and not to fall for the macho arguments that a “Republican plot” means there is not sexual misconduct. Decades later women leaders in the USA admitted their error in not calling for Clinton’s resignation. Male chauvinism is not just in Mauritius, nor is it new. And the fight against it is not just in Mauritius, nor is it new. You would not think, listening to Mr. Bhadain, that the peak of the #MeToo Movement in the USA was three whole years ago.

Attack against Women III: Open Season on Women Nominated

The third attack concerns what is referred to in number 5 of the FSC communiqué (above). After denying domestic violence and ignoring sexual harassment, Bhadain then goes on to allege that the “real” reason there was a complaint for sexual harassment against his brother-in-law was not that he harassed an intern and had harassed other women before. No. The real reason was that one of Bhadain’s enemies, a Minister, who “everyone” on social media supposedly already “knows” the identity of, wanted to nominate one of his alleged myriad of “mistresses” to his brother-in-law’s job – once the man was simply got rid of by invented charges of sexual harassment. Yes, that is Mr. Bhadain’s argument. Bhadain even refers on Radio to the woman about to be parachuted into the job, and en passant to three other women recently nominated in various financial institutions, as four “t...t...nn”. To Bhadain, it is normal to reduce women, not just to being a general object of men’s sexuality, but to being nothing but our own private parts. Bhadain, to make sure we know he is declaring war on women, then vows to release the woman’s name once his “investigations” on her are complete. Yes, he is the CID now. Or, as his old nick-name put it, the KGB. He is out there investigating women. He is out there calling publicly over the radio for information on women. He is announcing that he will terrorize women. The unnamed, he will name. All this will be part of his feud.

Of course, as you can see, what Bhadain has done is much worse. He has opened the hunting season against women. Against all of us.

Bhadain does not say in any Political Program, as we do in our Women’s Program, that Ministers should not live secretive “private lives”. In MLF we differentiate between the right to “privacy”, but no right at all to men, especially powerful men, having a whole private “life”. This is because we do not agree that men can “keep” women’s whole lives “private”, as they did in feudal times. Women should not be made to live their lives in a shadow-world. We, at the time, denounced this practice when President Mitterrand “kept” a woman, and even their daughter, in this kind of shadow-prison-life. Bhadain does not say, as we do, that the Press should, in a serious way, expose this kind of hypocrisy in powerful men, as part of the duty of the Press to society. No. That is not his demand. He only uses “mistresses” for the purposes of his political vendetta. And he declares “open season” for all men against any women. The MLF, by contrast, has had meetings with women journalists calling on them to break with the tradition of covering up men in positions of power’s abuse of women, especially young women, and pointed to the fine journalism of people like Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Otherwise, it is this very conspiracy of silence that allows women to be turned into invisible victims when the cover-up is suspended during a specific feud against some one macho male. We do not believe society should cover up powerful men’s exploitative behavior.

But Bhadain has, instead, announced an open hunting season against women. Look what happens.

The most unscrupulous of all publishers, social media platforms like Facebook, see fit to publish photos and CV’s of anyone they think Bhadain’s insinuations against four or five women might be referring to. That is how open season works. So, any woman cadre who has had a recent nomination is now being hunted down in public. Bhadain aims not so much against the Minister, but against the young women, while pretending they are collateral damage. One woman, who may not even have been aimed at, puts out a public denial in the Press in a paid advertisement. Attackers on social media then say she was mistress of some other powerful man. In fact, it is now open season on women. All men who have lost out to a woman in fighting their way up the vicious patriarchal ladder can now join in and hunt her down on line. So, Mr. Bhadain, your ally, is doing what he says he is victim of. Just as he says bosses at the FSC “detrir mo fami”, he now aims to “detrir fami” Ministers, CEOs, and any number of young women who will be mere collateral damage.

That is, unless we take a stand against this kind of anti-woman program that Roshi Bhadain is, in his actions, outlining.

The women’s movement takes a principled stand against this new dérive. We ask you to, too.


Roshi Bhadain, it is true, has in the course of a single week, suffered the trauma of domestic violence in his close family, ending in injuries and suicide, as well as having been arrested for an offense he says he is not guilty of. But, we cannot let this new low in attacks on women that he has unleashed over the media go un-contested. Women are not just collateral damage in fights between men humiliating each other in ritual medieval feuds. Thus this Open Letter to you, his allies.

Bhadain’s political Allies?

We thus formally call on you, Mr. Bhadain’s political allies, Paul Bérenger, Xavier Duval and Nando Bodha of the Alliance de L’Espoir, and you, Dr. Ramgoolam, leader of the biggest Opposition party, to take a stand when Mr. Bhadain makes blatant ideological attacks like this against women, in particular when:

1. He removes blame for domestic violence against a wife from the perpetrator male.

2. He denies the validity of women’s sexual harassment complaints at the work-place before there is even a hearing.

3. He declares a kind of “open hunting season” against all women recently nominated at work.

His allies could at least take a stand against men stabbing their wives, against sexual harassment at work, and against attacking women in this sexualized way when they get nominated to posts. How little we ask.

And please could you inform Mr. Bhadain that he is not, as Clan Chief, the victim. In the events he outlines and threatens, the victims are as follows:

1. His sister.

2. His niece.

3. Three women who work at the FSC and have made complaints of sexual harassment.

4. All women recently nominated at the FSC, Bank of Mauritius, EDB and FIU.

5. All women in the country, who are being portrayed as the “goods” that belong to a Clan Chief, and against whom male “victims” of other “Clan Chiefs” can, like Mr. Bhadain, wreak revenge, in turn, on him by stabbing us, ignoring our charges of sexual harassment and bandying our names about for getting nominations, not to mention calling us all by words like “t...t.. nn”.

Lindsey Collen, Rajni Lallah, Ragini Kistnasamy.


for the Muvman Liberasyon Fam

6 January 2022

PS: We are trying to get Dr Navin Ramgoolam’s email address

PPS: There is a Kreol Version of this open letter. Let us know if you would like to receive this too 

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