Goa MP Asked to Apologise for Rape Remark

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Shocked over Congress MP Shantaram Naik's insensitive remarks in the Rajya Sabha about the alleged rape of a Russian woman in Goa, activists, students and other women said he should publicly apologise for his "irresponsible" statement.

"Shantaram Naik's remark was absolutely irresponsible and derogatory and a public figure like him should not speak like that. Rape is rape, and cannot be classified on different footing," Girija Vyas, chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), told IANS.

"A woman who is raped is a victim and the Russian woman is a victim too," she added.

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

Naik, however, earned the ire of women members in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, Tuesday when he said that a rape case should be treated differently if the victim was known to be moving with strangers beyond the middle of night.

"An alleged rape of a lady who moves with strangers for days together, even beyond middle of the night, is to be treated on a different footing," Naik said.

The Russian consul general in Mumbai protested against the remark and voiced concern over rising crime against Russian citizens in the state.

Ayesha Sen, a PhD student of Delhi University who also volunteers in an NGO, said: "It's shocking that a public figure can talk so insensitively about a heinous crime like rape. If this is the mindset of our so called leaders, you can only expect the crime graph of the country to increase".

Added Rajni Sharma, a schoolteacher: "I couldn't believe that an MP could speak like that in the Rajya Sabha! Every other day we hear about tourists being harassed in Goa and instead of saying that strict measures will be taken to make people feel safe there, this is what Naik had to come up with."

"Goa is one of India's hottest tourist destinations. But first these harassment cases and then such remarks will spell doom for the state and the country," Sharma added.

Demanding that the MP must apologise for his statement, which he now says was "misunderstood", Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research, told IANS: "Naik's remark was outrageous. This is absolutely unacceptable from a people's representative".

"Instead of saying that stringent action will be taken to curb such cases in his state, he said that the rape of Russian woman should be handled on a different footing, making it sound justified! He must apologise publicly for his remarks," she added.



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Comment on this article

  • bryan, GOA / Saudi Arabia

    Thu, Dec 17 2009

    These MP's who are criticising,come from states in india where Rapes ,murders, harrasment and other crimes are committed against women on a daily basis.  They have no moral right to ask for an apology from our MP. first they should try and put their house in order. just because it happened in GOA and against a white woman. the media has put this case in the spotlight too for the same reason. why doesnt the media highlight the issues plaguing indian women which are endless.Am not justifying the rape. if guilty the rapist should be punished.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • anthony, goa/dubai

    Thu, Dec 17 2009

    What a shame to a person born of a woman.! Are you trying to legalize Rape by Politicians

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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