Maharashtra home minister RR Patil on Wednesday joined the chorus of politicians who have made insensitive remarks over the growing incidents of sex crimes against women, saying it "is impossible to post a policeman at every home where most of these incidents take place".
"Many crimes against women happen within the confines of homes. Is it possible to have a policeman in every household?" Patil said, replying to a debate on crimes against women and dalits in the Legislative Council.
"Most rapes are committed by people known to the victim. If brothers stop being brothers, fathers stop acting like fathers, how can anyone stop such incidents?" Patil said.
He claimed 6.34% of the rapes were committed by fathers and brothers, 21% by neighbours and 18% by friends or colleagues of victims.
According to Patil, the surge in the incidents of rape was due to the damage caused to the society by the portrayal of women in the media, cinema and advertisements.
His comments came on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked politicians to refrain from "psychoanalysing" and politicising the sex crimes.
Patil's remarks drew strong reactions from the opposition with its leader in the Legislative Council, Vinod Tawde of BJP, describing the minister as an "abject failure" in containing crimes against women.
"There is no need to post a constable at every home. The home minister's work should be such that one policeman is able to control 10,000 people," he said. BJP's Lok Sabha member Poonam Mahajan also hit out at Patil.
"The Congress-NCP government has been in Maharashtra for 15 years, and as long as it is there, crime against women cannot be stopped," she said. "Four months from now, there would come a change (after assembly elections) and women's safety would then top the government's agenda," she added.
As he came under attack from the opposition, Patil said his comments were misconstrued.
"Maharashtra continues to be a safe state for women. I have said that safety of women was, is, and will always be our top priority. If there are deficiencies, those would be dealt with," he later told reporters.
Patil announced that within two months, the government will implement the measure allowing it to send police escorts with women who feel the need for it.