While a leading women's right activist on Wednesday criticised Congress MP Shantaram Naik's controversial comments on rape in parliament, he found support from a surprising quarter - from none other than the outgoing chairperson of the Goa State Commission for Women (SCW).
Goa does not even have a functioning SCW to monitor crimes against women, Sabina Martins of the NGO Bailancho Saad said, adding that the state government's inability to reconstitute the Goa SCW in time proved how serious the government and ruling politicians were about crimes against women.
"The Goa SCW lapsed Dec 11. How can this be allowed to happen? It's a statutory body. Instead of tackling crimes against women, the government is now blaming the victim," Martins, a former member of the GSCW said.
Attacking Naik, Martins said that by the Rajya Sabha MP's logic, if women stepping out at night resulted in rape, then men too should be barred from the streets of Goa after dark because they were the perpetrators in such heinous offences.
"Naik should apologise to all the women in Goa for making such irresponsible statements," she said.
Incidentally, outgoing chairperson of the Goa SCW Pramod Salgaonkar on the other hand came out in support of Naik's controversial comments on the rape of the 25-year-old Russian girl.
"I saw his speech on television. Probably, he was trying to say that Goa is getting bad name as a crime centre," Salgaonkar said, adding that "Goa is a tourist destination where lakhs of tourists visit...One woman gets raped and media makes so much noise".
Salgaonkar's shocking endorsement of Naik's statement in parliament, where he blamed the Russian rape victim herself, for travelling late in the night, comes on the heels of nationwide outrage against the MP's comments.