'Women Had Greater Freedom To Wear Clothes Of Their Choice In Vedic Times': Kejriwal

The chief minister of Delhi was responding to a controversy started by Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma.

29/08/2016 5:54 PM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 5:55 PM IST
Stringer India / Reuters
The chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal REUTERS/Stringer

Taking a dig at Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma over his skirt remarks, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said women had greater freedom to wear clothes of their choice during Vedic times as compared to "Modi times".

"Women had greater freedom to wear clothes of their choice in Vedic times than they have in Modi times," Kejriwal said in a tweet.

The culture minister had stoked a controversy after suggesting that women tourists should not wear skirts in India.

"For their own safety, women foreign tourists should not wear short dresses and skirts... Indian culture is different from the western (culture)," he had told reporters in Agra yesterday.

He had also said that a "welcome card" was being provided to tourists visiting India and the "do's and dont's" on the card advise women not to roam alone at night and not to wear skirts.

The comments also did not go down well with Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chief Swati Maliwal who asked Sharma to focus on governance than clothes of women. She also hit out at drawing parallels between rape and the attire of a woman.

"Rape of [a 2-year-old] is also due to wearing skirts? Improve law and order, [please] stop telling women what to wear or not wear... Can't believe politicians continue to equate rape with wearing skirt. So easy to shirk responsibility and blame a women's attire for rape," she said in a series of tweets.

Following the storm over his comment, Sharma clarified he was only referring to attires worn in places of religious worship and that he had spoken out of concern.

"I am a father of two daughters... I would never tell women what they should wear or not," a report in NDTV quoted him as saying. "Our culture is atithi devobhava (a guest is like god). Such a ban is unimaginable, but it is not a crime to be cautious. Different countries issue advisories from time to time, but I never said change anyone's way of dressing," he added.

(With PTI reports)

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