"some dresses worn by women excite men"
An Indian lawmaker has angered people after claiming that rape cases in the country are increasing as some clothes worn by women “excite men”.
MP Renukacharya, the Karnataka-based lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), made the remarks when responding to a statement by opposition leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra amid a row over a “ban” on Muslim women and girls wearing hijab in school and colleges.
He said: “It’s a low-level statement to use a word like ‘bikini’.
“While studying in colleges, students should wear uniforms or a dress that fully covers their body.
“Rape cases are increasing as some dresses worn by women excite men, which is not good because women have respect in our country, we regard them as mothers.”
MP Renukacharya’s remarks caused controversy and prompted Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress national general secretary, to tweet her support for a women’s right to choose.
She tweeted: “Whether it is a bikini, a ghoonghat [veil], a pair of jeans or a hijab, it is a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear.
“This right is guaranteed by the Indian constitution. Stop harassing women.”
A few hours after making the remarks, the Indian lawmaker offered an apology to all women.
He said: “If my statement has hurt our sisters, I will definitely apologise. I respect them.”
A standoff between the authorities and students began on December 28, 2021, when students at Poornaprajna Pre-University College in Udupi were banned from attending if they wore a hijab.
Protests intensified as the High Court began hearing pleas to overturn a ban on the hijab.
The BJP urged students not to wear clothing that “disturbs public order” until the court gives its ruling.
One college in the Mandya region showed a large group of boys harassing a burqa-clad student.
At another college, a group of male students protested against their hijab-wearing peers.
Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai declared that all schools and colleges be closed for several weeks and told “students, teachers and management…. as well as people of Karnataka to maintain peace and harmony”.
The plea to overturn the ban has been referred to a higher bench of the Karnataka High Court.
Meanwhile, a separate plea has also been filed before India’s Supreme Court.