Silchar: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday said rapes happened only in "India" and not "Bharat", indicating that he blamed urbanisation and westernisation for such crimes.
"Such crimes hardly take place in 'Bharat', but they occur frequently in 'India'," Bhagwat said addressing a gathering here.
"You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislation, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values," reports quoted him as saying.
Bhagwat's comment follows that of a BJP cabinet minister from Madhya Pradesh, who said that woman who cross moral limits, pay the price.
Quoting from the Ramayana, Kailash Vijayvargiya is reported to have said: "Ek hi shabd hai - maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Rawan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega. (If you cross the moral limits, you will be punished just like Sita was abducted by Ravana),"
The remarks are bound to cause ripples with protests taking place across the country against sexual crimes against women in the wake of the Delhi gang rape case.
Delhi Police formally filed a chargesheet in the case against five of the six accused on Thursday.
The sixth accused is a juvenile.
RSS defends Bhagwat's rape remark, says 'have great respect for women'
Defending Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat's controversial remark that rapes hardly take place in 'Bharat', but they occur frequently in 'India', RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav on Friday said "we have great respect for women."
"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," Madhav said.
"All that he said is that in Indian tradition we have great respect for women and we should learn to uphold this tradition. If one goes away from this tradition it will result in rise of crime against women,' he added.
Addressing a citizens' meet here on Tuesday during his four-day visit to Silchar, Bhagwat criticized 'western' lifestyle of people in urban areas and said, without empirical evidence to back such a claim, that rape is prevalent mainly in cities where Indians are deeply influenced by western values and not by rural India.
"You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape 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," he added.
However, Bhagwat said he wanted stringent laws in sexual crimes against women and will favour capital punishment for those convicted of rape.