Leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Asha Mirje has made headlines, thanks to her belief that women are equally to be blamed for rapes.
While she might have wanted to convey the subtle message that the responsibility of being careful and alert lies in women themselves, Mirje's brazen comment that what a women wears, how she behaves, where she goes at night are all responsible for rape, has generated a shockwave across the political and social fraternities.
The politician questioned at a party meet why the young medical student who was fatally gangraped in a moving bus in December 2012 in Delhi was roaming around at night with her friend. She also implied that the photojournalist who was gang-raped at the abandoned Shakti Mills complex in Mumbai last year was partly because of the fact that the survivor chose to be at an isolated spot in the wrong time.
"Did Nirbhaya really have to go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills gang-rape case. Why did the survivor go to such an isolated spot at 6 pm?" the NCP leader, who is also a member of the Maharashtra Women's Commission, said.
Mirje was speaking at a gathering of her party's women workers in Nagpur on Tuesday.
In a short telephonic interview with CNN IBN on Wednesday, the leader apologized for the comment and clarified that she was only giving her opinion and a "motherly advice" to women. She said that she was of the view that women are always equal to men and that rapes are condemnable but the responsibility to be careful and alert also lies in women themselves.
"Women are twenty percent responsible for the rapes that take place," she said in a bizarre assessment.
But the comments have sparked outrage within social thinkers, politicians and public.
"Maam I come home much later after a movie! Why did Nirbhaya watch a movie at 11 pm?" said Suman Sharma in a tweet.
"Hello world, this is the kinda folk that rule us...Nirbhaya was responsible for her rape, says NCP Leader," tweeted Sapna Moti Bhavnani.
"Yes, Ma'm, Pakistan/Taliban agrees with you!" said another twitter user.
Following are few more reactions from twitter:
Can someone please tell Asha Mirje from the NCP to SHUT UP.
— Sanjay Gupta (@_SanjayGupta) January 29, 2014
NCP’s #AshaMirje: 'Why did Shakti Mill rape victim go to an isolated spot at 6 pm?’... Dear Ms Mirje: The only isolated spot is your brain — Ashwin Mushran (@ashwinmushran) January 29, 2014
Women Com member of Mah.Asha Mirje of the NCP should be askd to resign fr her stupid statement "Women themselves rspnsbl fr rapes"@ANI_news
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) January 29, 2014
Maharashtra Women's Commission member claims Nirbhaya 'invited' rape http://t.co/Wc9CBGP1Wr via @MailOnline | Asha Mirje should be sacked. — Nilim Dutta (@NilimDutta) January 29, 2014
Speechless at the patriarchal mindset of Asha Mirje. @timesnow Please step down from the Maharashtra Women's Commission ASAP.
— Mandira Popat (@mpopat) January 29, 2014
We talk of women empowerment and equality and then Asha Mirje happens. How do we make any headway if regressive forces continue to grow? — Hussain Baxamusa (@Moosanabi) January 29, 2014
Insensitive comments from leaders like Asha Mirje of the NCP reminds us of the fact that a woman's greatest enemy is often another woman
— Kiran Kumar Karlapu (@Scarysouthpaw) January 29, 2014
Instead of blaming the rapist, Asha Mirje is blaming women. Wearing shorts doesn't mean she is trying to provoke you — aadi (@Humorless_Tweet) January 29, 2014