NEW DELHI: India’s culture and tourism minister has come under fire for suggesting foreign tourists visiting his country should not wear skirts.
Mahesh Sharma was criticised over social media for his remarks, which he made while discussing a “welcome kit” that the government is handing out to tourists.
A card in the same kit lists “dos and don’ts” for tourists ─ one of which, the minister said, is that tourists do not wear skirts and go out alone at night.
The card “has instructions, like if they are in small cities, they should not roam around alone at night or wear skirts… They should take a picture of the car they are travelling in and send it to a friend as precaution,” he said while talking to reporters.
When asked if he was suggesting a dress code for female tourists, the minister said India was a “cultural country” and “we have a different dress code for temples. Kindly keep that in mind while dressing up.”
The minister later tried to defuse the situation, saying he was speaking “in the context of religious places”, and that he spoke out of “concern”.
This is not the first time Sharma has drawn flak over his controversial comments.
He has blamed “westernization” for India’s problems and even said “nights out for girls was not part of Indian culture” in the past.