Former Director General of Karnataka Police HT Sangliana on Friday tried to justify his remarks on Asha Devi, the mother of the 23-year-old woman who was brutally gangraped in Delhi in December 2012

At an event organised in Bengaluru on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, Sangliana had said Devi has “such a good physique” and he “can just imagine how beautiful Nirbhaya would have been”, referring to the gangrape victim by the name the Indian media gave her.

At the event – Nirbhaya Awards 2018 – Sangliana also said “people like Nirbhaya attracted the attention of miscreants” and offered what he called “safety tips”. His advice to women was to first surrender if overpowered and later follow up on the case. “That way, we can be safe, save a life and prevent being killed,” he said, according to The NewsMinute.

After his remarks drew criticism, on Friday, the former senior police officer said that he had only intended to “emphasise the importance of protection and security for women”. “I consider my statement to be totally within the limit, and I feel people are making an issue out of a non-issue,” he told ANI.

Sangliana also told Times Now that his comments were not an insult but a compliment. “This statement was only to highlight the vulnerability of women in general,” he said.

The Bangalore Mirror reported that activist Anita Cheria, who received an award at the event, said in her acceptance speech: “When top government officials from the police, seemingly well-meaning, think it appropriate to comment appreciating a woman’s good physique, we as a society have long way to go to change mindsets and bring any measurable lasting change in favour of women.”

The newspaper reported that several people attending the event left in disgust after Sangliana made the remarks.

On Friday, Asha Devi echoed Cheria’s views. “It would have been better if he had spoken about our struggle, rather than making a personal remark,” she told ANI. “It shows that people’s mentalities in our society has not changed.”