Trinamool Congress legislator Chiranjeet Chakraborty waded into controversy on Saturday, correlating a woman’s dress with eve teasing. He also sought to downplay an incident of harassment of a girl in his constituency saying that there was nothing new about eve teasing.
The incident occurred on Friday evening in Barasat in North 24 Parganas, where over a year ago a youth had to give his life, trying to protect his sister from getting teased by some drunken youths. The incident created a furore during the rule of the previous government. In the fresh incident, a student returning home from her tuition classes was harassed by some youths. Her father was also heckled when he tried to protest.
When his comments were sought, Mr. Chakraborty, a first time legislator and Tollywood artiste, said: “Tell me... can you imagine a movie without a villain, could Ramayana have been written without Ravana’s role… eve teasing is very old… but the preparation is made by the involvement of girls.”
“Their dresses have changed in tune with times… skirts have become shorter to appeal to men... that should be appreciated… but when it attracts taunts and comments… it becomes a case for eve teasing… it is undesirable though,” the law maker said almost as an afterthought. He said police patrol had been increased and the lighting in the areas around the Barasat station had been improved recently.
His comments drew wide criticism from within the government as well as from across society.
Minister for Women and Social Welfare Sabitri Mitra said dress and style had nothing to do with eve teasing, which was more linked to a state of mind. “It is a mental perversion. It is a social malady. If the manner of dressing was the culprit then village belles in sarees and salwar kameez would not have faced harassment.
She deplored the Barasat incident saying the culprits had been booked.
Mr. Chakraborty appeared unfazed, insisting later that he had spoken as a guardian.