Nagpur, Maharashtra: The Delhi student who was fatally gang-raped on a moving bus should not have been out late at night watching a movie. The photographer gang-raped while shooting a deserted mill in the heart of Mumbai placed herself in danger by visiting the area at 6 pm. This was the opinion offered by a woman politician in Maharashtra who is also a member of the Maharashtra Women's Rights Commission.
Asha Mirge, a practicing doctor, is a member of the Nationalist Congress Party or NCP which co-governs Maharashtra with the Congress party.
When Ms Mirge made these comments on two cases of sexual violence that outraged the country, the NCP's Supriya Sule was seated next to her on stage. Ms Sule's father, Sharad Pawar, heads the NCP.
When asked today why she did not interject during Ms Mirge's speech, Ms Sule said it was a matter of respect. "She is older and senior," said Ms Sule, a member of Parliament. "I waited for her to finish and then in my speech, I clarified what she had said may not be appropriate."
The event attended by Ms Mirge and Ms Sule was a gathering in Mumbai of women members of the NCP. "Did Nirbhaya really have go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills gang-rape case. Why did the (survivor) go to such an isolated spot at 6 pm?" asked Ms Mirge. "Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behaviour and her being at inappropriate places."
Ms Sule said that Ms Mirge has apologized for her remarks. "She was just voicing her opinion. We should just let it be," said the young leader, adding, "she is not an embarrassment for the party."
Another NCP leader, Praful Patel, however, described the comments as "downright insensitive" and talked about disciplinary action.