Indian women’s rights groups have called for the resignation of a high-ranking policeman after he used a rape analogy during a discussion about illegal sports betting on Tuesday night.
In response to a question about whether sports betting should be legalized in India, Ranjit Sinha, who heads the Central Bureau of Investigation, said: “It is very easy to say that if you can't enforce it, it's like saying if you can't prevent rape, you [should] enjoy it."
Sinha has since apologized for his remarks.
"I gave my opinion that betting should be legalized and that if the laws cannot be enforced that does not mean that laws should not be made. This is as erroneous as saying that if rape is inevitable one should lie back and enjoy it,” he said in a statement.
"I regret any hurt caused as the same was inadvertent and unintended. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues," he said.
But his mea culpa was not enough for women’s activist groups, who said Sinha should step down.
"How can he remain the head of India's premier investigation agency?" said Kavita Krishnan, an activist with the All India Progressive Women's Association.
Brinda Karat, leader of the Communist party of India (Marxist), said Sinha should be prosecuted for his degrading and insulting comments.
"It is sickening that a man who is in charge of several rape investigations should use such an analogy," Karat said.
Sexual violence against women is common in India, but police estimate only about four out of 10 rapes are reported as officers fail to take the complaints seriously.
But the issue has received closer attention since the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a private bus in New Delhi in December last year, which sparked widespread protests. The woman died of internal injuries and her attackers were sentenced to death.