Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism Government of India, Mahesh Sharma, has advised foreign tourists not to wear skirts in India. Sharma, who was in Agra city in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state on Sunday (28 August), was responding to questions on the safety of tourists in the country.
"When tourists arrive at the airport, they are being given a welcome kit which has a card with dos and don'ts... it 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 their friend'," Sharma said.
He also added that India is a "cultural country" and "we have a different dress code for temples. Kindly keep that in mind while dressing up."
However, he later clarified his statement and said, "We are not telling them what to wear and what not to wear. We are only saying that when they go out at night, they should be careful. We have no right to try and change anyone's clothes or way of thinking."
But that did not help him escape criticism from some quarters; a number of people including chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal condemned his statement.
In 2015, the minister had courted controversy by saying night out for girls was against India's culture. "Girls wanting a night out may be all right elsewhere, but it is not part of Indian culture," The Times of India had quoted him as saying then.