New Delhi: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has quoted a controversy by saying that ‘rapes occur frequently in India not in Bharat’.

Criticising western lifestyle which is prevalent in urban parts of country, the RSS chief said, "Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won't happen in Bharat or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes."

"Where 'Bharat' becomes 'India' with the influence of western culture, these type of incidents happen. The actual Indian values and culture should be established at every stratum of society where women are treated as 'mother'," he added.

He was speaking at an event organized in Assam’s Silchar district. Bhagwat also added that his organization wanted stringent laws to tackle sexual crimes against women and the rapists must be hanged.

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Bhagwat's comments come at a time when the death of 23-year-old girl, who was gang raped in Delhi on December 16 night, has impelled introspection on attitudes towards women where a rape is reported nearly every 20 minutes.

RSS defends Bhagwat

Defending Bhagwat’s controversial remark, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said, “We have great respect for women. The statement of RSS chief should be taken in proper perspective. He has already demanded strict punishment for rapists and even called for death penalty.”

"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.

Reactions

Reacting to Bhagwat’s comments, retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi, said, “Mohan Bhagwat’s statement shows that he is not aware of ground realities.”

Speaking on this National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma said, “Mohan Bhagwat is a senior leader. I request him to stop citing differences between India and Bharat. We are all Indians staying in this country. Bhagwatji needs to go to the grassroots level and then compare the condition of women in villages and cities.”

CPM leader Brinda Karat said, "Mohan Bhagwat doesn't know either India or Bharat. The largest number of rapes occur in rural areas on Dalits, tribals and rural workers. Such statements give confidence to criminals."

Congress leader Digvijay Singh said, "It shows the ideology of Sangh. Women cannot become members of the RSS. There is no difference between India and Bharat."

(JPN/Agencies)

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