Rape victims are often offenders – this is the official line of the Andhra Pradesh police. However, Union home minister P Chidambaram forcefully disagrees with this theory.
A comment by Andhra Pradesh director general of Police V Dinesh Reddy that skimpy dressing by women in the name of fashion was resulting in rapes and other atrocities has provoked several women’s organisations in the state to launch protests.
While addressing a year-end press conference here on Friday, the state police chief was asked as to why the police had failed to prevent increasing instances of rape.
“When you are taking food which gives good josh, you tend to be more naughty as time passes. I am giving you down-to-earth facts. Rapes are not in the control of the police ... Even the villagers from coastal Andhra are wearing salwar-kameez (as against traditional dress). All these things provoke,” Reddy said in reply.
But within hours, Chidambaram took exception to Reddy’s comments and said everyone was free to dress the way he or she pleased.
“I strongly disagree with the statement. Everyone is entitled to dress in the way he or she pleases as long as he or she has regard for the occasion, the place and the context. Obviously you don’t wear a whole lot of clothes to play football or tennis and you don’t wear swimwear to a cocktail party,” Chidambaram said.
“And I don’t think there should be any kind of policing, certainly not by the director general of police,” he added.
A number of women’s organisations demanded strong action against the top policeman.
Rattled, Reddy later clarified his remark, which was of a general nature, was distorted by the media .He said he meant a factor behind the increasing incidence of rape was the provocative dressing by women and the police had had no control over this.