There was no skirting this controversy, as Union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma while addressing media in Agra recently said that women tourists who are visiting the country should avoid wearing short dresses and skirts. To add to that, Sharma also advised they should not go out late in the night without at least one person escorting them. His remark, however, did no down well with the general public, who took to the Internet to voice their displeasure.
Realising the outrage on social media, Sharma was quick to give an explanation for his comment. “I had said in the context of visiting religious places like temple. I had talked about respecting religious places like if you go to a Gurudwara you cover your head and take off your shoes before entering a temple,” he told news agency ANI.
This, however, brought the minister no respite, and reactions continued to flow in on Facebook and Twitter. Some users have called the minister a misogynist, while others have questioned the hypocrisy of the country that does not allow women to wear what they want, but has no problems with nude men. Users have called out the minister for showing “abdication of duty” by such a comment and “peddling of soft cultural hegemon.”
Here are some of the reactions his “no skirt” advise has elicited on social media. Majority booed him, including Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, who countered that tourists who were sexually abused were not all wearing short skirts then.
— Misnomer (@AboliSadaf) August 29, 2016
— Ajith Jacob (@AjithJPanicker) August 29, 2016
— Hiren Antani (@HirenAntaniNGS) August 29, 2016
Indian minister said ‘female tourists shdnt wear short skirts for own safety’.But tourists who’r sexually abused din’t all wear short skirts
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) August 29, 2016
— Mohammad Ali (@hindureporter) August 29, 2016
Women had greater freedom to wear clothes of their choice in Vedic times than they have in Modi times
— Sadhavi Khosla (@sadhavi) August 29, 2016
1. Don’t wear skirts.
2. Don’t talk to men.
3. Don’t make eye contact with men.
4. If possible, don’t be a woman. http://t.co/ssqrz6oLrT
— Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) August 28, 2016
This man is an idiot. I am surprised he still has his job! He should have been sacked ages ago! Perhaps they forgot! http://t.co/LrDxNambx6
— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) August 28, 2016
“My minister @dr_maheshsharma is right, if she is wearing short skirts, she is asking for it. Why was she enticing me. I’m a man”
— Narendra Tayip Trump (@BabaGlocal) August 29, 2016
The “welcome kit” could contain just one message, no? “Turn around. Go back where you came from”. http://t.co/0S6ZjNua3F
— Prem Panicker (@prempanicker) August 29, 2016
Tell us what you think of the minister’s statement in the comments section.