RSS chief says rapes occur in India, not Bharat

Bhagwat said: 'You go to villages and forests of the country, and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes.'

SILCHAR, Assam: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat criticized 'western' lifestyle of people in urban areas, and said without empirical evidence to back such a claim, that rape is prevalent mainly in cities where Indians are deeply influenced by western values and not by rural India.

Addressing a citizens' meet in Silchar recently, Bhagwat said: "You go to villages and forests of the country, and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides, the new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values."

The RSS chief, however, said that he wanted stringent laws in sexual crimes against women and will favour capital punishment for those convicted of rape.

RSS defends Bhagwat

Defending Bhagwat's controversial remark, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav on Friday said "we have great respect for women."

"The statement of RSS chief should be taken in proper perspective. He (Bhagwat) has already demanded strict punishment for rapists and even called for death penalty if required," Madhav said.

"All that he said is that in Indian tradition we have great respect for women and we should learn to uphold this tradition. If one goes away from this tradition it will result in rise of crime against women,' he added.

Brinda Karat lashes out at Bhagwat

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat on Friday lashed out at Bhagwat saying this reflects the mentality, which refuses to accept the reality of caste oppression or class driven exploitation of women.

"I have read that statement and it seems to me that Bhagwatji does not know either India or Bharat. And, if he had even cared to just look at the government statistics, he would know that the largest number of rapes actually occur in rural India, on Adivasi and Dalit women, on agriculture women workers, on rural women workers where there is neither any justice nor any access to justice," said Karat.

"And a statement like Mr. Bhagwat has made only gives strength to the criminals. I think this reflects the mentality, which refuses to accept the reality of caste oppression or class driven exploitation of women," she added. (Agencies)