Kailash Vijayvargiya did it again! And this time the state industries minister joined the list of politicians who have made statements reeking of gender insensitivity at a time when the entire nation is trying to fathom the precarious state of safety and security of women -- manifested so terribly in the Delhi gangrape of December 16, 2012.
When asked to comment on recent sexual harassment cases in the country, with Madhya Pradesh in particular, Vijayvargiya said: “Ek hi shabd hai - maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxmanrekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxmanrekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Ravan samne baitha hai… woh Sita-haran karke le jayega”. (Whenever people cross their limitations, deterioration is bound to happen. It applies to everyone in the society. Whoever breaches the line, he/she will confront a Ravan)
The minister's remark drew sharp reaction from political parties as it triggered protests in the state and across nation causing major embarassment for BJP.
BJP national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said, “The party disassociates itself from the comment and requests him to take it back.”
Following the reactions, the minister defended himself saying: “I did not intend to hurt anyone's sentiments with my comments.”
Even as he stated of withdrawing his statement, Vijayvargiya stuck to the point that there was a need to debate on the impact of western culture. He underlined the need to ponder over the reasons that are leading to “distortions in society”.
The minister has quite a record of making sexist statements and issuing ‘advisories’ to women. In July 2012, he had said that women should not dress up in a way that provokes men. When the National Women’s Commission members had gone to Guwahati to probe the molestation of a girl by a gang of men on July 9, 2012, he had said of the women rights activists -- “as if they were out on a fashion parade.”
The minister, however, found support at home, when his wife Asha Vijayvargiya told HT on Friday: “I totally support his views.”