India’s Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma has spared controversy in the Asian country as he said foreign women travelling to India should not wear short dresses or skirts and should not walk alone at night “for their own safety”,
He also said women should take photographs of plate number of the cars they boarded while in India.
His provocative statements have come at a time when there’s a lot of several high-profile gang rapes and attacks on women in the country.
Mahesh Sharma made the comments on Sunday while promoting a welcome kit that will be handed out to tourists when they arrive in India.
“In that kit they are given dos and don’ts. These are very small things like, they should not venture out alone at night in small places, or wear skirts, and they should click the photo of the vehicle number plate whenever they travel and send it to friends.
For their own safety, women foreign tourists should not wear short dresses and skirts, .
Indian culture is different from the western. he said”
After receiving a lot of backlash from women online, he denied his comments amounted to a dress code. He later added:
“We have not given any specific instructions regarding what they should wear or not wear.
We are asking them to take precaution while going out at night.I am a father of two daughters…I would never tell women what they should wear or not,” Mr Sharma said.
India has amended its laws to broaden the definition of rape to include any form of penetration; it lists out strict punishments not only for rape but also for sexual assault, voyeurism and stalking.