Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said he regretted the fact that his statement linking the decrease in tourism to the increase in rape cases had been misconstrued.
“There is a controversy about what I had said in my speech yesterday. However, I had strongly emphasized against crime against women in India, and that how it is one of the factors that affects the whole country. I regret that my speech was misconstrued in certain sections, or some words that I used were construed as insensitive, but that was not my intention,” Jaitley told.
“I have been very outspoken about issues related to crime against women, as I am very sensitive to these issues myself. There is no question of trivializing any such incident. I have only spoken on how crime can hurt tourism,” he added.
Jaitley’s statement on Thursday had generated a lot of controversy and criticism.
Congress leader Shobha Oza termed it an idiotic and horrendous statement, and said Jaitley must apologize to the women of the nation.
NCW member Nirmala Samant told, “Very unfortunate and shocking, needs to be condemned at all levels.”
The parents of Nirbhaya, the paramedic student who was gang raped and murdered in December 2012, also expressed “deep hurt and disappointment” over Jaitley’s comments.
Yesterday, Jaitley had termed rapes as disastrous and said such incidents have cost billions of dollars to the tourism industry.
While addressing a conference of state tourism ministers, Jaitley had said that due to several reasons, including rapes and a poor law and order situation, the tourism sector is not booming as much as it should.
“As a part of the red carpet glean for the tourists, our law and order – ‘one small incident of rape in Delhi’ advertised world over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of lower tourism,” said Jaitley.