News & Politics

'If You Can’t Prevent Rape, You Might as Well Enjoy It,' India's Top Cop Says—Then Apologizes

Insensitive remark draws outrage, calls for resignation.

The chief of India’s top investigation agency, Ranjit Sinha, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about rape at a meeting about illegal sports betting, Metro reported.

In trying to suggest why gambling should be legalized, Mr. Sinha declared: "If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying if you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it”.

The remark sparked outrage across India, particularly in light of the nationwide protests in the last year which ensued after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi, which forced the government to change its rape laws.

Women activists have since called for Mr. Sinha’s resignation and have labeled the comments as offensive to women everywhere, especially for trivializing rape:

“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,’ Brinda Karat, of the Communist Party of India, said.

Following the incident, Mr. Sinha initially blamed the media for taking his comments out of context.  However, he later apologized and said he regretted any hurt caused by his inadvertent remarks, Daily Mail reported.

‘I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues,’ he said.

New laws introduced in India after the rape attacks include the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim’s death.

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.