Booze and Chinese food: Indian politicians explain the causes of rape

It's the gaffe that never ends. Ever since the infamous New Delhi gang rape in December of 2012, far too often politicians make a statement about India's surging rape problem that is often interpreted as insensitive or inaccurate. The public reacts, and not favorably. An apology is issued. But then, it happens all over again. Here are some of the statements politicians have made that caused negative backlash.

Cell phones are the problem

-- Art, Culture and Youth Affairs Minister Binay Bihari from the state of Bihar believes that banning cell phones from schools will help curtail the surge in rape. He also believes non-vegetarian food "contribute[s] to hot temper."

Many students misuse mobile phones by watching blue films and hearing obscene songs which pollute their mind.

'Girls in short skirts visiting pubs'

Goa is a popular beach destination worldwide, yet a senior official of the conservative party believes women should stay away from the 'pub tourism' of the city.

"Pub culture is not Indian culture and we don't want Western culture. Young people go drinking and it often leads to law and order problems. Our sisters and daughters are getting spoilt. Goa was a city of temples and churches. We don't want pub-tourism."

- Sudin Dhavalikar, a senior minister of Goa

Sometimes, rape is 'right'

The state minister made this following statement after his government was criticized for not doing enough to prevent rapes.

  “It is a social crime which depends on the man and the woman. It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.” 

-- Babulal Gaur, a home minister in the state of Madhya Pradesh

Bollywood is bad news

While politicians have blamed television for an environment that can lead to rape, one politician attributed it to "item numbers," songs in the world's largest film industry that are often glamourous and sometimes racey.

Women invite rape

A female politician and an activist said that women are often the cause of their own assault.

"Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behavior and her presence at inappropriate places." 

-- Asha Mirje, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in the state of Maharashtra

It's because we call the country 'India'

A conservative party member said he believes rapes take place in urbanized areas, not in villages. Many people in his party believe that India refers to urban regions, whereas the traditional name for the country, "Bharat," refers to the villages and small towns in the country.

"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'." 

-- Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the right-wing party in India

Boys will be boys

“They are boys. Mistakes happen."

-- Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Indian politician from the state of Uttar Pradesh

Blame chow mein

One politician blamed violent acts on fast food, which is rapidly becoming extremely popular all over the country.

"To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents. Chow mein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts."

Swati Sharma is a digital editor for World and National Security and previously worked at the Boston Globe.
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