NEW DELHI: After coming under fire for suggesting that woman tourists should not wear skirts in India, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on Monday clarified his statement saying that it was only in reference with religious places so that that the sanctity of the holy place is maintained.
Speaking to ANI here, Sharma said that, “All I said was that if they enter a temple they should take off their shoes and cover their heads if they are entering a Gurudwara, that’s all.”
Asserting that he did not comment on what a person cannot wear, the Union Minister asserted that India is known for its diverse culture and that imposing such a ban was unimaginable.
Further stating that as India’s Union Minister it was his right and his job to ensure the safety of foreign tourists, Sharma said that the government at times released advisories just like other nations, for the safety of the visitors.
Refuting charges that he said that people roam around alone at night, Sharma stated that he has not prevented anyone from doing so and was just asking the tourists to maintain caution and that there was nothing wrong in doing so.
Sharma stirred a controversy on Sunday saying that a welcome kit is being provided to tourists visiting India and the dos and don’ts on the card advise women not to roam alone at night and not to wear skirts.
"When visitors land at the airport, they will be provided with a welcome kit. The kit contains a card, a pamphlet which describes do's and dont's. Where it will ask the visitors not to travel at night, ask them not to wear skirts," he said on Saturday.
"In that kit, there is a pamphlet which says that India is a cultural state where apparels change with respect to religious places like temples and asks the visitors to mind their dress codes," he retorted.
He also asked visitors to take a photograph of every vehicle's number plate as a precautionary measure while travelling.
Sharma, last year, had stoked controversy by saying that girls’ wanting a night out was not acceptable in India.