Indore: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who stoked a controversy a few days ago saying that rapes do not take place in rural but urban India, has created a fresh row now with remarks that a woman is bound by contract to husband to look after him.
"A husband and wife are involved in a contract under which the husband has said that you should take care of my house and I will take care of all your needs. I will keep you safe.
"So, the husband follows the contract terms. Till the time, the wife follows the contract, the husband stays with her, if the wife violates the contract, he can disown her," Bhagwat told a rally here yesterday.
"...Similarly, if a husband is unable to fulfill the terms of contract, then the wife can break the contract. Everything is based on contract," the RSS chief said.
Reacting to Bhagwat's comment, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, "I don' think it is really surprising because at the end of the day, this is what RSS is. That is why I think it is the retrogade 'samiti' of India. These were the regents who when BJP was in power wanted a new Constitution of India based on 'manushriti'. So when he talks in this language, he only reflects his ideology."
Hours after the comments were aired by the media, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav clarified that Bhagwat had been misrepresented and he had spoken about the western marriage system and not the Indian marriage system.
Asked about the remarks, Madhav said that the projection of Bhagwat's views in the media was "very unfortunate".
He said the media had projected as if the RSS chief had spoken about the Indian marriage system being contractual but he had spoken about the western marriage system.
"He (Bhagwat) went on to say that the Indian marriage system is very sacred... He was misrepresented. He did not say Indian marriage system was contractual," said Madhav.
Bhagwat purportedly said that if a woman fails to honour her duties she can be disowned by the man and even the woman can disown the husband if the latter fails to do his duty.
Triggering a controversy, Bhagwat earlier had said rapes happened only in "India" and not in "Bharat", apparently blaming the urbanisation and westernisation of society for such crimes.
Political leaders from different parties slammed Bhagwat over the remarks.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) later came out to defend the RSS chief.
"His comments should be seen and understood in its entirety, he was referring to India's sanskar (tradition) where respect for women occupies a pride place," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said: "The statement of RSS chief should be taken in proper perspective. He (Bhagwat) has already demanded strict punishment for rapists and even called for death penalty if required."
The remark that came against the backdrop of the Delhi gangrape incident was slammed by Congress, CPI-M and women's bodies while BJP and RSS defended it saying the comment should be taken in proper perspective.
Bhagwat had claimed that the incidents of rape were the result of adoption of western culture in society as a whole and that erosion of traditional Indian values were more pronounced in urban areas.
"Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won't happen in Bharat or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes," he had said.