Bengaluru: Hours after courting controversy over his “enjoy rape” shocker, Congress leader and former Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar apologised on social media for what he called his “indifferent and negligent” comment in the state assembly.
In his clarification, he described it as an “off-the-cuff remark” and said that his intention was not to trivialise the crime. “I will choose my words carefully henceforth!” he tweeted.
However, he is not the first Indian politician to make such a reprehensible and outrageous comment. Leaders from various political outfits have in the past made a slew of insensitive, prejudiced and some downright sexist and patriarchal statements.
Abhijeet Mukherjee (2012)
Former Lok Sabha MP and son of former President Pranab Mukherjee made a highly controversial and sexist remark about the women who are protesting against the gang-rape of a 23-year old girl in Delhi. He described the protesters as “pretty women who were dented and painted”. This sexist remark on anti-rape protesters as people from the fashionable set and not students triggered a backlash, following which, Mukherjee offered an “unconditional apology”.
Botsa Satyanarayana (2012)
Former Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana drew criticism for his comments on Delhi gang-rape when he said “freedom at midnight” did not mean women roaming on the streets during the late hours.
Dharamvir Goyat (2012)
Former Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) member Dharamvir Goyat put his then government in an embarrassing situation by stating that “majority of rapes in the state was consensual”.
“If we go into the details of rape cases and abductions, it is found that victims and accused in 90% of cases are runaway couples. So the cases are consensual”, he said.
Jitendra Chhatar (2012)
Thua khap panchayat leader Jitender Chhatar blamed the consumption of Chowmein and fast food for rapes. “To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts.”
Mohan Bhagwat (2013)
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat claimed that rapes and gangrapes are restricted to urban India and blamed western culture for an increase in crimes against women. He added that such ‘things’ do not happen in rural India, where traditional values hold sway, exhibiting his ignorance as cases often go unreported in this belt.
Ramesh Bais (2013)
He normalised the rape of grown-up girls and women. “The rape of grown-up girls and women might be understandable but if someone does this to an infant, it is a heinous crime and the offenders should be hanged”, he told reporters referring to the rape case involving minor inmates of a government-run residential school in Kanker district of the state.
Kailash Vijayvargiya (2013)
BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh Kailash Vijayvargiya stirred a controversy by saying that women who cross their limits pay the price. Citing an example from Ramayana, he said that just like Sita was abducted by Ravana, a woman will be punished if she crosses her limits.
Satyadev Katare (2013)
The Congress leader angered everyone at a rally in Bhind district by saying, “No man will harass a woman till she looks at him in a suggestive manner.”
Mulayam Singh Yadav (2014)
While opposing capital punishment for rape, founder-patron of the Samajwadi PartyMulayam Singh Yadav made a crass and obnoxious comment, “ladke, ladke hain… galti ho jati hai (boys will be boys… they commit mistakes).” He insinuated that women were responsible for rape, saying ‘First girls develop friendship with boys. They when differences occur, they level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Will they be hanged for rape.’
Abu Azmi (2014)
Former SP’s state president Abu Azmi found himself in an embarrassing sitution for his “rape survivors too should be hanged” remark. Mid-Day published a report quoting Mr Azmi as saying, “Under Islam, rape is punishable… any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.”
Tapas Pal (2014)
Actor-politician Tapas Pal was caught on camera openly threatening to send `his boys` and get women of the Opposition party raped. “If anyone from opposition or their wives and sisters are here, then listen up, if any one of your people touch anyone from TMC I will destroy you, I will not spare them. I will send my boys and they will rape people.”
Manohar Lal Khattar (2014)
The then BJP MLA candidate said that girls must be dressed decently and not ‘lure’ boys. “If you want freedom, why don’t they just roam around naked? Freedom has to be limited. These short clothes are western influences. Our country’s tradition asks girls to dress decently.”
Ramsevak Paikra (2014)
Following the rape and murder of two cousins in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun, the then Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ramsevak Paikra made a controversial statement, saying that rape happens “by mistake”. “Nobody commits rape on purpose, it happens “by mistake (‘dhoke se’)”.
Babulal Gaur (2014)
Following the horrific Badaun rapes in 2014, the former MP home minister, who retired from politics in 2018, was quoted saying, “This is a social crime which depends on men and women. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.” He added that crime of rape can only be considered to have been committed if it is reported to police.
K J George (2015)
The then Home Minister of Karnatak K J George stoked a controversy with his insensitive remark suggesting that two men raping a woman cannot be termed gang rape when asked about an incident involving a 22-year-old BPO employee, who was allegedly gang-raped by the driver and helper of a tempo while returning from work around 10 pm.
Ramveer Bhatti (2017)
In the Chandigarh stalking case, the BJP leader blamed the woman and questioned why she was allowed to “stay out so late”. He said girls are more likely to be stalked if they go out during odd hours.