A minister in Bengal has provoked outrage with his comments against women activists of the opposition Left. "They have often torn their own blouse and claimed they were assaulted," Swapan Debnath, the state minister in charge of small industries and textiles, said on Monday.
Mr Debnath, a senior leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress, was addressing a rally in Burdwan when he said, "We all know about those police officers who arrest their own son for a promotion, to show their honesty. Similarly, we know many women's wing leaders of CPI-M who used to tear their own blouse and accuse others of molestation."
As some in his audience clapped, he went on, "If they have a fight with their husband at home and are attacked, they will frame a Trinamool person for it."
The minister was apparently illustrating how rumours were spread against the Trinamool by rivals who wanted to frame the ruling party.
The Left has demanded Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's explanation for her minister's comments.
"This is an outrage. This shows the depth to which the Trinamool has fallen. Instead of arresting the culprits, they defend them. This is what he trains people in his party to do. Why is the Chief Minister silent?" said CPM politburo member Brinda Karat.