APCC president Botcha Satyanarayana found himself in an embarrassing situation on Monday when he said, in relation to the Delhi gang-rape, that “freedom at midnight” did not mean women roaming on the streets during the late hours.
Without stopping at that, Mr. Satyanarayana went on to state that “women should consider the timing and conditions while going out late. They should ensure that there is adequate number of passengers while boarding a private bus,” he said.
The PCC chief, who was speaking to reporters at Gandhi Bhavan, appreciated AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s intervention. He said though the gang-rape was a “small incident”, Ms. Gandhi responded quickly and ordered steps to prevent recurrence of such crimes.
As his comment was telecast live by various news channels, they attracted immediate reaction from women’s organisations. He did not realise the import of his statement until he received an angry phone call from a woman in the presence of reporters.
A thoroughly embarrassed Mr. Satyanarayana began a damage control exercise by venting his ire on the electronic media representatives, but only to find there were close to a dozen of them prompting him to call for another media meet.
Tendering an unconditional apology to women in case they were hurt by his comment, he said he was withdrawing it. “My statement should be understood in the proper spirit. It is not aimed at insulting women,” he said.
He said he was also withdrawing his comment that the gang-rape was a minor incident. It was an extremely serious incident that received condemnation from across the country and the government should take stringent action against the perpetrators of the gory crime. “As a father, I wholeheartedly condemn the incident,” he said.