A poll of global experts that says India is the world's most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour, has been rubbished by the Women and Child Development Ministry, sources have told NDTV.
Sources say the data on the ground does not match what the poll reflects, and that the ministry is drafting a response that should be out soon.
The poll has also been rejected by the National Commission for Women or NCW, which says the countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public. NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma claimed that the sample size was small and could not be representative of the whole country.
"Women are very aware in India of issues and there is no way that we could be ranked number 1 in such a survey," Ms Sharma said.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation, after a survey of about 550 experts on women's issues, ranked India as the world's most dangerous country for women, followed by war-torn Afghanistan and Syria.
The only western country in the top 10 this time was the United States, which ranked joint third.
The poll was conducted online, by phone and in person between March 26 and May 4 with an even spread across Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific.
The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 in which Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia were named as the most dangerous countries for women.
The survey asked respondents which five of the 193 UN member states they thought were most dangerous for women and which country was worst in terms of healthcare, economic resources, cultural or traditional practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
Respondents also ranked India the most dangerous country for women in terms of human trafficking, including sex slavery and domestic servitude, and for customary practices such as forced marriage, stoning and female infanticide, the foundation said in a statement.
With inputs from PTI and Reuters