Goa MP Defends Rape Remark

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Congress MP from Goa Shantaram Naik Wednesday defended his controversial comments on rape and said he welcomed the Russian consulate's concerns on its citizens stepping out "during late hours of night".

"Where is the question of stepping down. I am not holding any office," Naik told Times Now channel.

"I am very happy that the Russian government has given advisory to its citizens. One has to be advised to move in a proper manner and take care not to venture out during late hours of night. If the advisory has been issued it is most welcome," he said.

On the controversy that arose from his comments in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday, he said: "It was not understood properly and has been misinterpreted. It is unfortunate."

The state's lone Rajya Sabha MP Tuesday attracted the ire of members in the house for saying that a rape case should be treated differently if the victim was known to be moving with strangers beyond the middle of the night.

Naik blamed the media for highlighting the controversial case of a Russian woman working in Goa who has claimed she was raped earlier this month by a state politician in his car after having dinner with him. His remarks were reportedly expunged.

The 25-year-old Russian was allegedly raped by a Goan politician John Fernandes in the wee hours of Dec 2.

The Russian consul general in Mumbai protested to the Goa government over his insensitive remarks and voiced concern over rising crimes against Russian citizens in the state.

The consulate said that if the Goa government believes that the rape was justified since the woman was out of her hotel at 2 a.m., it would warn Russian nationals visiting the state.

"We would be happy to inform our citizens not to remain outside after 10 p.m., if you suppose that it would assist in their security," Russian consul general Alexander Mantytsky said in a letter to state Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.



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