India’s top police official has come under fire for saying: “If you can’t prevent rape, you might as well enjoy it.”
Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha made the comment during a conference about illegal sports betting and the need to legalise gambling. The CBI, the country’s premier investigative agency, is India’s equivalent of the FBI.
Mr Sinha said that if the state could not stop gambling it could at least make some revenue by legalising it. His remarks about rape were in this context.
The remarks have caused outrage across India, which in the past year has been hit by widespread protests following the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi.
Mr Sinha said that his comments were taken out of context and were misinterpreted, but angry activists called for his resignation.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said Mr Sinha’s comments were offensive to women everywhere.
“It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy,” Ms Karat told reporters. “He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women.”
The New Delhi attack on the young woman last December caused nationwide outrage and forced the government to change rape laws and create fast-track courts for rape cases.
New laws introduced after the attack make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. They also provide for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.