A female politician in India has caused outrage after saying that women too are to blame for rape.
Asha Mirje, who is a member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Maharashtra Women’s Commission, reportedly asked why the Delhi student who gang-raped in December 2012 had been out with a friend late at night.
Speaking at a meeting of her party’s women’s wing in Nagpur on Tuesday, Mirje also asked why a photographer – who was raped whilst taking pictures at an abandoned factory in Mumbai – had been there in the first place.
“Did Nirbhaya really have go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills gang-rape case. Why did the victim go to such an isolated spot at 6pm?” Mirje said.
“Rapes take place also because of a woman’s clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places,” she added.
Mirje also said that women have to be “careful” and added that a woman has to think whether, even inadvertently, she is inviting or not inviting.
Mirje’s comments caused widespread anger in India with women’s rights activists calling for her to be thrown out of the NCP, an off-shoot of the governing Indian National Congress (INC).
The INC and the opposition Bharatiya Janatha Party have condemned her comments as “unacceptable” in a country where a rape is recorded every 20 minutes.
Ms Mirje later apologised, saying it was her “personal opinion”.
She told CNN-IBN that her remakrs had been “taken out of context”.
“The complete comment was not taken. Only a part of it was projected. I was not blaming the women for rape. I had said that since we are in period of transition, we have to be extra cautious,” she said.
Ms Mirje is expected to face party officials on Thursday.