The commissioner of Delhi Police, BK Gupta, feels that women should be accompanied by male relatives if they venture out at odd hours.
"You can't travel alone at 2am and then say Delhi is not safe."
"It would be ideal if a woman takes her brother or driver along (when venturing out late)," he said at a meeting organised by the women's wing of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Saturday.
"It's wrong to say the Capital is not safe for women. My daughter is in London and she's been advised not to venture out after 9pm. Street crime is rampant in London as well. My daughter has been a victim of purse snatching there," he said.
Activists, however, termed Gupta's statement "shocking".
They said the 85,000-men-strong Delhi Police should be able to provide safety to each and every person at any time in the Capital.
Ranjana Kumari, women's rights activist, said, "This statement from the police chief is unacceptable. Today, women work in various industries and they can't take their brothers and fathers along. Instead of making the city safe for women, he is putting the onus on the victim."
"This is ridiculous. The police are violating the right to life and they can't put restrictions on women," Mishika Singh, one of the organisers of SlutWalk in the Capital, said.
On the rising number of rape cases in the Capital, Gupta defended the police force, saying in most cases the victims and the accused were known to each other.
"I can't go and guard every home."
But Gupta agreed that women did not trust male cops.
"When I was joint commissioner (New Delhi range), I visited Jesus and Mary College, where students told me that men cops were more troublesome than roadside stalkers."