Weeks after apologising for his remark on Unnao rape survivor, Uttar Pradesh's ruling BJP legislator Surendra Singh once again courted controversy today by saying that parents are responsible for the increasing incidents of rape and should not let their children roam around freely.
The legislator from Bairia in Ballia district, who had earlier said no one can rape a mother of three children, also advised parents not to give their children mobile phones.
"The parents of youths are responsible for growing incidents of rape as they do not take care of their wards," local BJP MLA Surendra Singh told reporters in his constituency last night.
"Children up to 15 years of age should be kept under strict vigil. It is the duty of parents to take care of their wards. But they allow their wards to roam around freely. This is the main reason for the social evil," he said.
Children should not be given undue freedom, he said, and asked parents not to give mobile phones to them.
The remarks come in the backdrop of outrage over the brutal gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, and the rape of a 17-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district, allegedly by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
Defending Sengar, Surendra Singh had said, "I am speaking from a psychological point of view; no one can rape a mother of three children. It is not possible, this is a conspiracy against him (Sengar)."
Known for making contentious comments, he had also recently called West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee "Surpanakha", the sister of demon king Ravana.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month directed his party's lawmakers not to make "irresponsible" statements.
"We commit mistakes and give masala to media. The moment we see a cameraperson, we jump to make a statement as if we are great social scientists or intellectuals. So this half-baked stuff is picked up. Then these ill-informed statements are used by media and the party's image takes a beating," the prime minister had said.
His admonishment came a day after Union minister Santosh Gangwar was reported as saying in Bareilly that a "brouhaha" should not be created over one or two rape cases in a big country like India.
(With inputs from PTI)