The Congress on Sunday turned the heat on MP home minister Babulal Gaur over his recent remark that there were fewer sex crimes against women in Chennai because they dressed up fully and regularly visited temples.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader had cited Chennai’s lower rate of crimes against women to much higher rates in Bhopal to drive home his point.
The PTI quoted Gaur, a former chief minister of MP, as saying that a number of senior police officers in Chennai told him crimes against women in the city was less because of their sartorial choices and religious temperament.
State Congress vice-president Manak Agrawal slammed Gaur, saying, “At 83, he should not look at dresses women wear and concentrate on preventing crimes against them.”
Agrawal said besides individual choices, climatic and geographical conditions determined outfits worn by women in different parts of the country. “Attributing higher rate of crimes against women to dresses they wear is ridiculous.”
Madhya Pradesh repeatedly figures at top in crimes against women.
The figures of crime for 2012, released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) last year, showed MP continued to top the chart of rapes of women and children in country.
According to the NCRB report, Kochi (Kerala) tops among cities in crimes against women followed by three cities from MP: Indore, Gwalior and Bhopal.
Asked about Gaur’s remarks, state women’s commission chairperson Upma Rai said, “Such statements should be ignored and not highlighted.”
Several leaders and public figures including Gaur have faced widespread criticism in the past with remarks seen to be sexist (see Foot-in-mouth epidemic).
Following the December 16, 2012, Delhi gang rape, Gaur had faced criticism after saying women should not wear provocative dresses.
The MP Congress leadership kept up the attack on Gaur even as it prepared to receive party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday. Gandhi is scheduled to attend a Congress women’s conclave in Bhopal.
State Mahila Congress president Archana Jaiswal said if dresses had anything to do with rape and harassment, minors would not have been targeted.
Despite repeated attempts, Gaur, who is in Delhi, could not be reached for comment.
Cities with highest crimes against women (per 100,000 population):
Relatively low in TN capital: