India's top police official has apologised after a remark he made during a press conference outraged women across the country.
The director of India's equivalent of the FBI, the Central Bureau of Investigation, came come under fire for saying: “If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying, 'If you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it,'”
Ranjit Sinha made the controversial comment during a press conference about illegal sports betting and the need to legalise gambling. Mr Sinha had said that if the state could not stop gambling it could at least make some revenue by legalising it. He claimed his remarks about rape were in this context.
Angry activists called for Mr Sinha's resignation today whilst the National Commission for Women (NCW) sought an explanation from for his controversial rape remark.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said Mr Sinha's comments were offensive to women everywhere.
"It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy," Ms Karat told reporters. "He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women."
The comments come as four men who were sentenced to death in September after being convicted of the brutal gang-rape and murder of a Delhi student continue to protest their innocence. The young woman had been fatally assaulted as she and a male friend made their way home from an evening at the cinema and boarded an off-duty bus which the men were driving around the city. After being beaten, stripped and the young woman repeated raped, the pair were thrown from the moving vehicle.
The attack last December sparked outrage across the world and an unprecedented debate within India about the position of women. The government was forced to enact new laws that increased the punishments for sex offenders and create fast-track courts for rape cases.
New laws introduced after the attack make stalking, voyeurism and sexual harassment a crime. They also provide for the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim's death.