New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kailash Vijaywargiya, who at a party function said that women who cross the Lakshman Rekha face rape, has now blamed the influence of western culture in the country for crimes against women.
Speaking to CNN-IBN's National Bureau chief Bhupendra Chaubey, Vijayvargiya pointed that the identity of India across the world was of a country with values and cultures, adding that things get distorted with the influence of western culture.
Kailash Vijayvargiya also accused the media of distorting his statement and just showing a part of it. "I gave a speech for one hour, you will understand my point if you listen to the complete speech. But one part of it was picked and presented as if I am against women...I myself am hurt," said the BJP leader.
The Madhya Pradesh minister also backed the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, saying, "He (Mohan Bhagwat) also said that there must be development, but the culture must not be destroyed in the process, it should not go."
When asked if he was ready to apologise for his statement, he tried to skirt it reiterating that his statement had been distorted by the media. "I have been presented as if I am anti-women...I feel injustice has been done to me."
He, in fact asserted that he had given the statement with all responsibility, adding that it was shown irresponsibly by the media. The BJP leader also hit out at his critics saying he would pray to god to give them brain.
This came even as the BJP disagreed with his remarks. Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The BJP distances itself from Kailash Vijayvargiya's remarks. The party has asked him to withdraw his remarks."
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. He had said, "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 BJP, however, 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.
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."