At a time when India is teeming with anger and grief over the case of a young medical student who was gang-raped in a Delhi bus its politicians have been delivering one deplorable remark after another about women.
Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, a senior leader of Mamata Banerjee's party, said today that the Park Street case - where a woman was raped by five men after she exited a nightclub - was not a case of sexual assault but a misunderstanding during a deal between a woman and her "client".
Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar is a member of parliament from the Trinamool Congress party.
The woman who was raped told NDTV, "I cannot imagine how a woman can say something like that about another woman, about me. Here I am waiting for justice and she has gone ahead and said something so insulting. And she is a politician! I am shocked, horrified. Where was she when I was getting raped? She is speaking with such confidence about what happened. Was she there?"
After public outrage over her remark, the politician told NDTV that she had been misquoted. "I said it is incomparable because the Delhi rape is a heinous crime and it has jeopardised the life in such a fashion...the girl's life is in danger. She is in treatment and has undergone operation. These two cases are not comparable. And that is what I said, that these two cases are not comparable."
In February, after the media first reported the Park Street assault, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the case as a fabrication constructed to embarrass her government.
Yesterday, Abhijit Mukherjee, a Congress member of parliament, also from West Bengal, and the son of the Indian President apologized for describing women protestors in Delhi as "painted and dented." His party said today that no action will be taken against him since he has apologized.
Another apology has been issued by CPM MLA Anisur Rehman, again from West Bengal and a former minister in the Left government there. Earlier this week, he asked the chief minister Mamata Banerjee to state her "rate for getting raped." He was referring to announcements of compensation made by the chief minister for a rape victim.