Bhagwat says rapes occur in urban India, not rural Bharat; BJP defends him

FP

Even as RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat sparked a controversy with his remarks that rapes mainly occur in urban India due to western influence and not in rural India, a BJP minister in Madhya Pradesh, Kailash Vijayvargiya, said on Friday that women should not invite trouble by crossing the "Lakshman rekha".

While the BJP rushed to defend Bhagwat, saying his remarks should be "understood in entirety", it asked Vijayvargiya to withdraw his comments.

"Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won't happen in Bharat or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes," PTI quoted Bhagwat as having said at a meeting in Silchar, Assam recently.

"Where Bharat becomes India with the influence of western culture, these type of incidents happen. The actual Indian values and culture should be established at every stratum of society where women are treated as mother," he added.

Defending Bhagwat, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said: "All that he said is that in Indian tradition we have great respect for women and we should learn to uphold this tradition. If one strays from this tradition, it will result in rise of crime against women."

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "His comments are required to be seen and understood in entirety. He was referring to India's sanskar, tradition and value system where respect for women occupies a pride of place."

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters after a party function in Indore on Thursday night, Vijayvargiya, who is the state industry minister, advised women not to invite trouble by not dressing properly or by overstepping their limits.

Referring to the Ramayana, he said: "Only when Sitaji crossed the Lakshman rekha, she was kidnapped by Ravan... If Sitaji (woman) crosses the Lakshman rekha, then Sitaharan is bound to take place as Ravans are out there". The minister withdrew his comments on Friday under pressure from the party high command.

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