Maharashtra panel member blames women for rape

Maharashtra panel member blames women for rape

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that tom toms about its progressive lineage found itself in a tight corner when a Maharashtra Commission for Women member nominated from the party fold, blamed women and their sartorial taste and public behaviour for the increasing graph of crime against women.

The person in question, Dr Asha Mirge, a gynaecologist from Akola, ironically was speaking at the party's youth wing meeting held in Nagpur on Tuesday. NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter and MP from Baramati, Supriya Sule was also present on the occasion.

The presence of Sule did not deter Mirge who while responding to a query relating to women's safety, told girls present in the crowd that they should “know how to behave appropriately in public...why should girls invite attention...when potential rapists are at every corner of the streets...just look at the Delhi gang-rape victim...what was the need for Nirbhaya to go for a late night movie and that also at 11 pm?”

After making remarks on “Nirbhaya”, Mirge shifted her attention to Mumbai's Mahalaxmi rape case: “ I ask you was there any need for a photo-journalist to go to an isolated place and that also an abandoned mill at 6 pm when it is already dark...Girls need to be alert at all times and they also need to look inwards as to why they become target; it is time you look at your own self and the dress you wear, the hair style you have...and where you go and at what time you go.”

The remarks did not go down well and before the hell could break out amongst the stunned audience, Sule took the mike and said that women were free to travel to any village, taluka or city or any street at any time of the day.

In a desperate attempt to control the damage from spilling out into a major controversy, Sule apologised and said: “She (Mirge) is of my grand-mother's age and she spoke what she felt appropriate. I did not interrupt because of my upbringing...I have been taught not to interrupt when a person is speaking. I made my point immediately after Mirge completed her speech.”

Mirge realising the faux pas and the political repercussions of the gender-biased remarks, came out with an apology laced with feeble justification: “I am not a politician and had no intention to hurt anyone.”

The party also disassociated itself with Mirge’s remarks with NCP leader and Union Minister of Heavy Industries Praful Patel saying: “The person is insensitive...I am hearing her name for the first time...I cannot react to somebody who claims to be from my party when I don't even know her. We will certainly take action if she belongs to our party.”

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