Facing constant criticism for his controversial remarks on New Year eve molestation here, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara claimed on Thursday that he was committed to protecting women and suspected a "hidden agenda" behind highlighting the incident.
Parameshwara also said he was extremely pained that his statement on the alleged molestation incident had been interpreted out of context and not taken in its entirety. "My comments had nothing to do with molestation. Nothing to do with westernised culture. The remarks referred to the incident, it was not about dress or molestation," he told reporters.
As horrific incidents of alleged molestation of several women on MG Road and Brigade Road during New Year revelry came to light, triggering a national outrage, Parameshwara had talked about the 'Western ways' of youngsters in remarks that came under scathing attack from different quarters.
Speaking to a TV news channel on the issue, Parameshwarahad said "Youngsters who are almost like westerners, they try to copy westerners not only in mindset, but even thedressing." National Commission for Women Chairperson LalithaKumaramangalam had slammed Parameshwara's remarks, demandingthat he resign.
NCW, as also Karnataka State Commission for Women, had sought separate reports from the administration and police over the incidents. Parameshwara said he would reply to the NCW notice. He would also reply to a notice sent by Delhi Women's Rights Commission, but not before examining whether any state has the power to send such a notice to a minister of another state.
"I never even mentioned the word molestation. I don't know how this whole thing took a different turn, which altogether gave an impression that I made a statement that molestation happens every time, which was absolutely wrong," he said.
"The choice of every citizen of our country should be?respected. Women have equal rights, respect and protection under the Constitution," he said. Parameshwara said he was not one who treats women in adifferent sense, but respects them, for everyone hails fromthat kind of culture.
"I have full respect. I have sisters, my mother, my wife,and I am not such a person to treat women in a differentsense. We all respect our families, womenfolk. We come fromthat kind of a culture. We never see them in a differentsense." Parameshwara also said police are working round-the-clock on the footage culled from CCTV cameras.
"This all started from January 2. Is there a hidden agenda? I don't know," he said without elaborating. On the Kamanahalli molestation case, he said an FIR had already been registered and police have some leads. The culprits would be brought to book and won't be spared, he said. In the Kammanahalli incident, a woman was groped andassaulted by two scooter-borne men near her home with theshocking incident caught on camera.