'Enjoy rape' remark puts India's top investigator under fire
"It is sickening that a man, who is in charge of several rape
investigations, should use such an analogy. He should be
prosecuted for degrading and insulting women," local
politician Brinda Karat told The Hindu newspaper.
The head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Ranjit Sinha, made the remark while speaking on legalizing betting in sports.
"Do we have the enforcement?" Sinha said at a CBI
question-answer session in New Delhi on Tuesday. "If you
cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying 'if you
can't prevent rape, you enjoy it'," he said.
Sinha’s comments immediately caused outrage among women
activists, and many on the social media, who called it shameful
and “not acceptable”.
“Such a senior police officer who is in a very responsible
position and investigates criminal cases should not have passed
such a remark,” said Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social
Research, as quoted by the local Hindustan Times. “It is not
acceptable and he should apologize for it. It has become a habit
of people in senior positions to treat the issue of sexual
assault lightly,” she added.
"How can he remain the head of India's premier investigation
agency?" All India Progressive Women's Association activists
The CBI chief has said he regretted his remark on rape, which was
misinterpreted as he “just used a proverb”.
“I gave my opinion that betting should be legalized and that
if the laws cannot be enforced that does not mean that laws
should not be made,” Sinha said in a statement. “This is
as erroneous as saying that if rape is inevitable one should lie
back and enjoy it.”
As Sinha explained to the Hindustan Times, he meant to say that
“lotteries are already legal” and so, he said that “betting
could be legalized, it can be taxed.”
“To make this point, I just used a proverb,” he told the
The issue of sexual assaults on women in India has been in the
spotlight since the gang rape of a student on a Delhi bus in December.
She was thrown onto the street and later died in a Singapore
hospital. The case led to widespread protests and ignited an
intense debate over sexual violence and the rights of women,
which in turn resulted in some legal reforms.
In March India introduced tougher rape laws. Under the new law,
repeat offenders and those whose victims are left in a
"vegetative state" now face the death penalty.
Government statistics earlier indicated that a woman is raped
every 20 minutes in India, although the country’s conviction rate
for rape crimes is one of the lowest in the world.