New Delhi: In an embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party, a Madhya Pradesh Cabinet minister has stirred more controversy by making an irresponsible remark. He suggested that if women breach their moral limits, they ask for punishment.
"Ek hi shabd hai - Maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Rawan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega. (One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana)," Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
However, such remarks from Indian politicians are not new. Aspersions are cast on the character of victims of sexual harassment repeatedly. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had dismissed the Park Street rape as a CPM conspiracy against her. One of her party leaders Kakoli Ghosh recently remarked that the incident was not a rape, but a "misunderstanding" between the woman "and her clients".
At a time when the whole country is demanding change in the mindsets, the least the elected representatives of the people can do is be cautious and guarded in their statements. The culture of blaming the victims and not the perpetrators of the crime is only going to encourage the latter to harass and humiliate women more.