Union tourism and culture minister Mahesh Sharma stirred a controversy on Sunday while suggesting that visiting woman tourists should not wear skirts in India.
He said a welcome card is being provided to tourists visiting India and the dos and don’ts on the card advise women not to roam alone at night and not to wear skirts.
Interacting with mediapersons, Sharma elaborated on helpline number 1363 introduced to help foreign tourists. He said, “When a foreign tourist reaches the airport, he or she is given a welcome kit wherein dos and don’ts are mentioned for them during their stay in India”.
“These dos and don’ts include suggestions that if they are in small cities, they should not roam alone at night nor wear dresses like skirts,” he said. “We also suggest them to click photographs of number plate of cabs they are travelling in and send it to their friends so that the number is stored and circulated,” said Sharma.
When asked again if he is suggesting a dress code for tourists visiting India, Sharma said it was not his intention to suggest a dress code for any visitor.
“Why should we indulge in suggesting a dress code for visitors?” he asked.
Admitting that he was not authorised to issue injunctions on matters of anyone’s dress, Sharma said he wanted to advise tourists to be discreet while visiting temples.
“Even I have two daughters... I would never tell women what they should wear and what they should not,” he said.