Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today kicked up a controversy by suggesting that ladies should not be hired as personal secretaries as one can land in jail if there is any complaint of sexual harassment but apologised hours later for the comment.
"These days the situation is such that one is scared of talking to girls. We feel that a lady should not be hired as a secretary. God forbidding, if there is some complaint we may land in jail," Farooq Abdullah told reporters outside Parliament House.
The New and Renewable Energy Minister was responding to queries about sexual assault cases involving important dignitaries.
Asked whether he was blaming the fair sex, he said, "No, no, I am not blaming the girl. I am blaming society itself.
The society has reached a stage where complaints are coming from the other side."
"Rapes should not take place. The number of girls has gone down. When a child is born we pray for a son. When a girl is born we cry," Farooq Abdullah said.
The comment came in for criticism and even his son Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said he should apologise.
The Union Minister then sought to wriggle out of controvery, "people are misunderstanding things and they are misquoting things in many ways."
"I feel terribly sorry that people are misunderstanding things and they are misquoting things in many ways. There is no question of anything to derogate. I feel time has come there must have justice and there must have 33 per cent reservation in the Parliament as quickly as possible," he said.
"If something goes wrong, I am sorry for that. I never meant it in the manner that people have taken it," he added.
Omar had tweeted saying he hoped his father would apologise for his "misplaced attempt at humour".
"I'm sure the attempt wasn't to trivialise important issue of women's security so I hope dad apologises for the misplaced attempt at humour," Omar had posted on the social networking site.
Farooq Abdullah draws flak from women leaders over employment remark
Cutting across party lines, women leaders today criticized Union Minister Farooq Abdullah for his controversial statement that hiring female personal secretaries can land one in jail if there is any complaint of sexual harassment.
"In our constitution, both the genders have equal rights but so far, women have been living in fear. If someone thinks so, that mindset should be changed," Women and Child Development