Mohan Bhagwat, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (a right-wing, paramilitary, volunteer Hindu nationalist group) chief, has sparked outrage in India after stating that rapes happen in cities more than in rural areas.
In relation to the rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old medical student in New Delhi Bhagwat said: "Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat, but they frequently occur in India," Bhagwat said seeming to indicate that "westernization" in Indian cities was the reason behind increasing cases of rapes.
He continued: "You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values".
The incident which took place on December 16 sparked protests in the capital and across India, with thousands of people taking to the street demanding that the government take measures to ensure safety for women.
The protests have continued everyday since the incident and show little sign of abating. This statement by Bhagwat and others made by other political figures have infuriated the public further. People have taken to social media to condemn the 'ignorant' remark:
"@ShruthiR11: Is our country so ignorant? are people that uneducated? RT @IndiaToday: Rapes happen in India, not Bharat: RSS http://bit.ly/W9BlTS"
"@shilpidahele: what a prick. --- Rapes occur in 'India' not 'Bharat': RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/rapes-occur-in-india-not-bharat-rss-ch... â¦"
"@informedcritic: A plague on ppl like Mohan Bhagwat, their scary lack of knowledge & information! And also on those like RS Prasad & BJP who defend him!"
"@kamleshksingh: Mohan Bhagwat has lived away from villages for far too long. The westernised India fares far better than rural Bharat in skeletons dept"