While the former minister was blaming women, state Congress president Kantilal Bhuria and Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh were listening to him from the stage. The leaders were in Bhind to garner support for the Congress in the elections scheduled for November this year. The party has been out of power in the state for the last 10 years.
Mr Katare's remarks come at a time when a four-year-old girl from Jabalpur lies in a hospital in Nagpur after she was allegedly raped last week. Her alleged rapist was arrested yesterday from Bihar.
The girl is in a coma with severe brain injuries. Her doctors are worried that she is not responding to treatment.
Her case, like that of the five-year-old who was kidnapped and then raped in Delhi, has provoked a new wave of anger and underscored the vulnerability of young girls and women to sexual crimes. The outrage that followed a medical student's fatal gang-rape in Delhi in December led to the introduction of tougher anti-rape laws last month. But a slew of assaults in cities and villages have led to renewed furore over the incompetence of the police.
Madhya Pradesh reported more than 3400 rapes in 2011, the highest in the country. Last month was another shocker as a 39-year-old Swiss woman was gang-raped and her husband beaten up while they were camping near a forest.