New Delhi: Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah Friday raked up a storm by saying that men are scared of talking to women, as they fear ending up in jail. The minister, however, apologized later following wide criticism from all the quarters especially from social media.
Abdullah made the remarks while answering a question about Justice A.K. Ganguly asked by a reporter on the steps of Parliament House.
Retired Supreme Court judge A.K. Ganguly was Thursday indicted by an apex court panel, which found evidence that he had sexually harassed a woman who was working as an intern. The report by the panel said the judge was guilty of "unwelcome behaviour".
While speaking with reporters, Abdullah said, "Now we are even afraid of talking to girls. We are scared now of appointing women secretaries," adding that what was at fault in the matter was society itself.
"I agree the incidents of rape have increased. Whatever is happening is wrong. It's not the fault of girls, but of society," he said.
The Union minister’s comments raked up a controversy, and social activists and opposition leaders said they were inappropriate.
"It's a very inappropriate comment, especially to be made on the steps of parliament, indicating that women are only to be hired so that they can be called up unfavourably or demeaned," BJP leader Smriti Irani said.
"Men who are sure of themselves will not make such comments. Those who are insecure make such statements," said former Indian Police Service officer and social activist Kiran Bedi.
Women and Child Welfare Minister Krishna Tirath said: "So far, women were afraid of men. Seems that is changing."
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also said that he hoped his father would immediately apologise for his comments on women, which the son said were most likely made in a lighter vein.
Abdullah was forced to retract his controversial statement within hours. "If I said something that hurt sentiments then I am sorry," Abdullah said. "My comments were misconstrued."