Indore: Days after chairperson of National Commission for Women (NCW) Mamata Sharma's remarks on how women should dress drew criticism, now a Madhya Pradesh minister said the safety of women and respect accorded to them depend on what they wear and how well they behave.
"Women's fashion, lifestyle and conduct should be in accordance with Indian culture...women should not wear clothes which provoke others (to misbehave with them)," Madhya Pradesh industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said in Indore on Friday.
"Women should dress in such a way that they invoke respect in others. However, unfortunately women are dressing provocatively, which is leading to deviation in society," he said, referring to the incident.
On the night of July 9, a 20-year-old girl was molested by a mob of 30 on a busy street outside a pub in Guwahati's Christian Basti area. So far 12 accused in the case have been arrested by police. But the main accused, Amar Jyoti Kalita, is still absconding.
Earlier, reacting to the incident the NCW chairperson had said women should be careful about the way they dress because such incidents are a result of blindly aping the West.
"After 64 years of freedom, it is not right to give blanket directions and say don't wear this or don't wear that. Be comfortable, but at the same time be careful about how you dress," she had said.
Mr Vijayvargiya also made a sexist remark against NCW team which had gone to meet the victim. He said, "By the visuals I saw, it looked like the girl (Alka Lamba, former NCW member) had gone for a fashion parade." Ms Lamba was removed by the commission after she revealed the name of the victim at a press conference and then defended the disclosure.
Mr Vijayvargiya's remarks drew criticism from political circle. Reacting sharply to the comments made by the minister, Rajya Sabha MP Prabha Thakur said, "The question is not about the dress code, but the mentality of men. What the girls should wear should be the concern of the girl, her parents and her family only. I don't think there is a need for anyone else to say anything about how a girl should behave."