Indian Psychiatric Society President Suggests Early Marriage a Remedy to End Sexual Crimes
Indian Psychiatric Society President Suggests Early Marriage a Remedy to End Sexual CrimesReuters

The President of Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS), Dr Indira Sharma has stirred controversy after making a comment that early marriage could be a solution to curb rising crime against women.

Sharma made the statement at the 65th annual national conference at NIMHANS in Bangalore which was held between Jan 10 and 13. She spoke on the topic 'Violence against Women: Where are the Solutions' while she made the statement.

The IPS chief had said at the conference that boys should get married in their early twenties or soon after they get a job so that their 'sexual needs were satisfied in an appropriate manner'.

Later speaking to Times of India on Friday, Sharma said, "Parents lose 50% control on their child once he starts working. He has no responsibilities, has extra time and money. He can take to alcohol and lose his frame of mind and commit sexual crimes.''

Sharma's comments drew vast criticisms with psychiatrists stating that her statements were provocative and disgusting. Some even went to the extent of equating the IPS chief to a 'Khap Panchayat.'

Ridiculing Sharma's statement, N Ashok Kumar, an IPS member from Cuddapah, said, "There are married men who assault housemaids. Moreover, how can a psychiatrist draw such a line for society? It's not our job to advocate such solutions."

After the controversial statement, the core group of IPS have reportedly decided to hold a meeting to confirm whether to make amendments in Sharma's speech or publish it as such in the official website.

Meanwhile, claiming that presidential speeches should address burning issue, Sharma told TOI, "It was a presidential statement, not a diktat. Every person has the right to an opinion."

The editor of Indian Journal of Psychiatry, Dr T S Sathyanarayana Rao said that he had asked Sharma for a written copy of her speech before uploading it in the IPS website. "We may ask her modify her address or print a rider along with it," Rao told TOI.

However, Sharma is unmoved bt criticisms. "Academia is characterized by difference of opinions. I have just given my opinion. It's not a khap diktat. I have only stated what I have seen as a psychiatrist," TOI quoted her as saying.

"Marriage is a protection against crime. One of its advantages is that it is a socially acceptable channel for sexual desire. Ideally, both men and women should marry between 21 and 25," she added.