Member of Parliament Kirron Kher on Wednesday said a 22-year-old rape survivor should have been more alert. An auto-rickshaw driver and two other men had allegedly raped the woman inside the vehicle in Chandigarh’s Sector 37 on November 17. The accused left her in Sector 53, where passersby rescued her.
The actor-turned-politician said that the woman should not have boarded the auto when there were already three men inside it, The Indian Express reported. “I want to speak a bit about the girl’s understanding, and to all girls in general, that when you see there are already three men sitting in an auto, you should not be getting inside it,” Kher said at a press conference in Chandigarh. The 22-year-old was returning home after attending a stenography class.
Though it was necessary for people to educate their boys and prevent such crimes, girls should also be “alert and aware”, the MP said, adding that she “really felt sad” for the rape survivor. Kher said people have become more wild these days.
Public transport in Chandigarh is quite restricted, the English daily reported with no bus service available from Sector 37 to Mohali at the hour the woman was travelling at.
When she was asked why Chandigarh did not yet have a women’s commission, Kher reportedly said that there was no need for one as the city already had a woman MP, woman mayor and a woman senior superintendent of police. “I am there...women can come to me,” she said.
The politician also brushed aside reports of increasing cases of harassment, gang-rape and other crimes in the city, saying that such incidents have always been prevalent in north India. The Chandigarh Police were efficiently tracking these cases, she said.
“Eve teasing was always there, I remember being teased at my time,” Kher said.
Her statements triggered outrage both among political leaders and on social media. Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal said, “I am amazed at how she could give such a statement. It seems like a light take on a serious matter.”
After facing backlash, Kher reacted saying, “The matter should not politicised...Aren’t there girls in your homes? You should also be talking constructive things like I am, instead of making a destructive statement,” she said.