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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Mirje likely to be sacked for her remark on rape

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times  Nagpur, January 29, 2014
First Published: 11:05 IST(29/1/2014) | Last Updated: 21:07 IST(29/1/2014)

Asha Mirje, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and a member of the Maharashtra Women's Commission, whose insensitive remarks on rape has stirred a controversy, is likely to be fired from her post.

Mirje, who was on her way to Hyderabad on Wednesday to attend a women's convention, was summoned by the party high command after her controversial statement.

The women's commission member will reach Mumbai in the evening.

She has been under fire for her remarks from all quarters as politicians and activists alike sought her resignation.

Rupa Kulkarni, activist and the leader of domestic workers in the state, on Wednesday demanded that Mirje should be removed from the post immediately for making such comments against women.

"She has no moral right to continue on the post as she is biased against women," said Kulkarni.

Another women's rights activist, Seema Sakhare, described her as insensitive and also demanded her immediate ouster from the post.

"How can a member of women's commission make such a comment whose duty is to protect women in the state?" she asked.

While speaking at a gathering of her party's women's wing in Nagpur on Tuesday, Mirje had asked why was the 23-year-old medical student, who was gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi in December, 2012, out with her friend late at night.

She also commented on the photojournalist who was gang-raped at the abandoned Shakti Mills complex in Mumbai last year.

"Did Nirbhaya really have go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills gang-rape case. Why did the victim go to such an isolated spot at 6pm?" Mirje said.

Her remarks were in response to a young participant's question on security and safety of girls amid growing incidents of rape and sexual assault all over the country.

Read: Outrageous 'rape' remarks: Ranjit Sinha joins the insensitive bandwagon

Watch: Annie Raja condemns Asha Mirje’s remark on Nirbhaya

"Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places," she added.

Mirje also said that women have to be "careful" and added that a woman has to think whether, even if mistakenly, she is inviting or not inviting (sexual assault).

She even recited a Marathi poem that cautioned women from such acts.

Raising her doubts on the statement made by Mirje, a girl asked that why should girls be the only ones to change.

Police should patrol and secure such places, the girl pointed out.

However, Mirje replied by saying that girls should change the surroundings by their behaviours. Every girl should be alert enough.

Talking to HT on Wednesday, she said that considering the terrible condition of women in Indian society, women must be cautious.

"I just said that although men are responsible for rapes and molestation, women too need to take more precautions in order to protect themselves," she defended.

She also apologised for her statement.

"If anyone was hurt by my statement, I am really sorry. I am not diplomatic. There was no bad intention and the motive behind my statement was pure concern for women's safety."

Senior NCP leader Supriya Sule, who was present at the party function when Mirje made the comments, disapproved of her statement and maintained it was inappropriate.


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