A lawmaker in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has apologised for joking about rape.
“There is a saying that when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it,” Congress leader KR Ramesh Kumar said in reply to speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri’s remark on chaos in the state assembly.
Mr Kageri and some other lawmakers laughed in response.
But Mr Kumar had to apologise after the statement drew outrage.
On Friday, he said in the assembly that he was apologising “with an open heart” to anyone who was hurt by the remark.
“I had no intention of insulting women, or lowering the prestige of the assembly, or joking about it. I had no ulterior motive,” Mr Kumar said.
His controversial remark on Thursday was made after Mr Kageri expressed his helplessness at not being able to control lawmakers.
“You know, Ramesh Kumar, I now feel that we should just enjoy the situation. I have decided to give up on trying to control and streamline this situation. I will just let them talk,” said the speaker.
Women lawmakers called his remark “insensitive” and threatened to protest against it.
This is not the first time that Mr Kumar has been criticised for his comments perceived as sexist.
In 2019, when he was the speaker of the assembly, he compared himself with a “rape victim” while reacting to corruption allegations.
Sexual crimes against women is a serious problem in India. Despite increased scrutiny, rape remains a serious problem, with tens of thousands of new cases reported annually.