Women groups support Andhra police chief's comments

Women groups support Andhra police chief's comments

A day after he came under attack from some women's organisations for his comments hinting at a link between women's dresses and the increase in number of rape cases, Andhra Pradesh Police chief Dinesh Reddy Saturday received support from some other groups.

Representatives of various women's groups called on the director general of police and congratulated him for the "courage" shown by him in speaking the truth. They urged him not to take back his remarks. These groups agreed with the DGP that provocative dress of women is one of the main reasons for increasing number of rapes.

However, Reddy's remarks evoked strong reactions from some women's groups, who described them as chauvinistic. The groups accused him of indulging in moral policing. Home Minister P.Chidambaram also strongly criticised Dinesh Reddy's remarks, observing that what to wear or not to wear was a matter of individual's choice, and there cannot be any kind of plicing and "certainly not by a DG of police".

Asked for his reaction at a press conference in New  Delhi,  Chidambaram said: "I strongly disagree with that statement. Everyone is entitled to dress the way he or she pleases as long as he or she has regards to the occasion, the place and the context. Obviously, you don't wear whole lot of clothes to play football or tennis and you don't wear swimwear and go to a cocktail party".

However, Rashtriya Sevika Samithi leaders hailed Dinesh Reddy's comments, saying they reflect the views of majority of Indians and urged him not to withdraw these due to criticism from some quarters. "Influenced by the western culture, young girls are wearing skimpy dresses which is leading to an increase in the number of crimes," said Lalita Rani, a leader of the Samithi.

"Some women feel that they will wear whatever they like and men should close their eyes," she said. While replying to a query at a press conference, the police chief had cited provocative dresses of women as one of the reasons for the increase in number of rapes.

Meanwhile, women police officers have also come out strongly in support of their chief.  "We are very much pained and deeply hurt at the twisting of the DGP's statement by blowing it out of proportion and context by certain media," a statement by the women officers said.

The statement said Dinesh Reddy is known for championing the cause of women. The DGP, in a statement Friday evening, said he was hurt as some news channels misinterpreted his comments.

"Also some of the prominent ladies, knowing very well what type of person the DGP is, are trying to react out of proportion, thinking the misinterpretation as gospel truth," said the statement, in an obvious reference to some women's groups condemning his remarks.

The DGP's office also released a video clip of his comment at the conference earlier in the day. At the conference, he said the dresses which were being worn by women as present day fashion were provoking men and police had no control over it. "Otherwise, why in certain schools, you are banning girls from wearing shorts," he asked.

He added that it was a free country and people were free to wear what they like.

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