A senior government minister whose remarks about a Delhi gang rape sparked outrage in India has sought to clarify his position.
Arun Jaitley, the republic’s finance minister, said “one small incident of rape in Delhi” had cost the country billions in lost tourism.
Five men and a teenager lured a 23-year-old Delhi woman into an unlicensed bus and repeatedly raped and tortured her in 2012. She later died of her injuries, provoking an outpouring of anger and soul-searching about the place of women in Indian society.
“I am sensitive to these issues myself, no question of trivialising any incident,” Jaitley said after his comments sparked outrage, including from the victim’s mother.
Jaitley, addressing a conference of state tourism ministers, had earlier said improving law and order was necessary to help bring visitors to India.
“One small incident of rape in Delhi advertised world over is enough to cost us billions of dollars in terms of global tourism,” he said, according to Reuters.
The victim’s mother said the government minister’s remarks had hurt her greatly.
“When they needed votes, they would take my daughter’s name and that such a big incident had happened. But once they got into power, they call it a small thing.”
Four men have been sentenced to death while a fifth suspect committed suicide. The teenager was remanded to a judicial reform centre.
About 50 members of the youth wing of the main opposition Congress shouted slogans against Jaitley outside the office of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.