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India: Top cop links rape to fashion

Publish Date: 31 Dec 2011
Source: Asian Age

Andhra Pradesh director-general of police V. Dinesh Reddy.

Andhra Pradesh director-general of police V. Dinesh Reddy has stirred a hornet’s nest nationwide by linking increase in rape cases in the state to the clothes worn by women.

On Friday, Mr Dinesh Reddy was questioned at the annual press meet on why there had been so many rapes and murders. His absurd and insulting reply was: “Fashionable dresses worn by women, even in rural areas, is one of the factors leading to increase in rape cases. Police have no control on this issue. Earlier, in rural areas, women used to wear traditional dress but they are wearing fashionable dress and salwar-kameez.”

His statement drew sharp criticism from women’s rights activists, ex-policemen and even Union minister P. Chidambaram.  “I strongly disagree with that statement. Everyone is entitled to dress the way he or she pleases as long as he or she has regard for the occasion, the place and the context. Obviously you don’t wear a whole lot of clothes to play football or tennis, and you don’t wear swimwear and go to a cocktail party,” Mr Chidambaram said, adding that there cannot be any kind of policing of choice of clothes.

In a puzzling contradiction, the DGP’s office clarified later that he was misrepresented, but still maintained that provocative clothes worn by women was one of the factors for the increasing rape rate.

“What has hurt the DGP is that for reasons best known to them, some news channels misinterpreted it. Also, some of the prominent women ... reacted out of proportion, taking the misinterpretation as gospel truth,” the press note said.

Copyright © 2011 The Asian Age

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