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Jan 04, 2013 at 04:13pm IST

BJP defends RSS chief, but disagrees with MP minister's comment on women

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday defended the remarks by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who had said that rape incidents occurred in cities and not in rural areas. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad lambasted critics and said that the comments should be seen in their entirety, adding that the raging debate on his remarks was unnecessary. "Women empowerment, respect for women forms the core ideology of the RSS," a furious Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

However, he said the BJP disagreed with what one of its Madhya Pradesh Cabinet ministers had said about women and sexual harassment. "The BJP distances itself from Kailash Vijayvargiya's remarks. The party has asked him to withdraw his remarks," said Prasad. Quoting Ramayana, Vijayvargiya had said that there was a limit of decency for everybody and anybody who crossed that line would be abducted like Sita.

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Vijayvargiya, however, himself backed the RSS chief saying what he had said was true. "What he has said is true. We are moving towards westernisation, crossing our limits. This leads to deformity." He added, "The Sita example signifies that every person has a Lakshman-rekha.. be it a father, or a son or a wife. Lakshman-rekha means limit."

The two comments by the two leaders sparked a furore on Friday.

National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Mamata Sharma slammed the leaders saying that at a time when the country was trying to push its women towards progress, the politicians were trying to set more limitations upon them.

"I want to request senior leader Mohan Bhagwat to stop citing differences between India and Bharat. We are all Indians staying in this country. Bhagwatji needs to go to the grassroots level and then compare the condition of women in villages and cities," she added.

CPM leader Brinda Karat said, "Mohan Bhagwat doesn't know either India or Bharat. The largest number of rapes occur in rural areas on Dalits, tribals and rural workers. Such statements give confidence to criminals."

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said, "It shows the ideology of Sangh. Women cannot become members of the RSS. There is no difference between India and Bharat."

Congress leader Rashid Masood warned, "We politicians should control over tongues and remember that we too have women at home."

Activist Kiran Bedi said, "Bharat is different from India because Bharat does not have the infrastructure to take the report... of sexual assault, which is why girls continue to suffer."

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