BJP MP and Bollywood actress Kirron Kher’s unsolicited advice to a 21-year old gangrape victim has stirred a controversy. Kher, who represents Chandigarh in the Lok Sabha, on Wednesday had said that the victim should have been more cautious, applied common sense and not boarded the auto-rickshaw in which three men were already sitting. On Thursday she sought to clarify her statement, saying it was “only in the context of certain precautions” that women should take and that it was “not intended to blame the victim or shaming her”.”I want to tell this girl and all other girls that if you see three men sitting in an auto, you should not board it. I am saying this to protect the girls. We all have to be alert about such things. I am saddened by what has happened with the woman,” she had said.On Thursday she, however, cried foul blaming Congress for politicising her statement. “It is very unfortunate that in our country, every statement is politicised. I am a woman and a mother, and I have always spoken up for women’s rights whether inside Parliament or outside. I think giving a political colour to this is very unfortunate. I am only looking after the security of girls in the city,” she said.”I just said that the world is a bad place. We all, especially women, have to take precautions,” Kher said. “If the Congress wants to make an issue out of it, I cannot help,” she said.Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal had criticised Kher, saying: “I am amazed how she gave such a statement…it seems like a light take on a serious matter. Instead, she should say how she is going to make Chandigarh a safer place for women.”She also said that Chandigarh Police would provide transportation facility if women were unable to find a public transport. “You can dial 100. The police will then send a PCR to pick you up and drop you to your residence. So I think you should avail this facility. We also have smartphones with which we can click a picture of the number plate of the auto or of the drivers. We have to learn how to look after ourselves,” she said.The victim was allegedly gang raped by three men on November 17 evening after she hired the shared auto-rickshaw to go back to her paying guest accommodation in Mohali town, adjoining Chandigarh. The police has got the CCTV footage of the auto-rickshaw and its driver from a gas station in Sector 42 where the vehicle had stopped to get a CNG refuel. The Union Territory police so far has arrested the three men after over a week after the incident. The accused arrested included auto-rickshaw driver Mohammed Irfan, Garib and Poppu. Onr of accused Irfan had tried to commit suicide in police custody by stabbing himself with a glass that he broke in the lockup.The victim, who hails from Dehradun in Uttarakhand, had boarded the shared auto-rickshaw after attending her stenography class in Sector 37 here. The victim told the police that the driver took the vehicle to the gas station for refuelling and then turned towards Sector 52. He stopped the auto near a wild growth along the road and said that it had broken down. When the woman got out of the vehicle to take another one, the three men pulled her into nearby bushes and took turns to rape her.
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I did not intend to blame or shame the victim: Kirron Kher