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Indian minister under fire over remark on women

Published on Dec 6, 2013 5:33 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An Indian minister apologised Friday for causing offence after remarking that men were now "scared to talk to women" amid an ongoing public debate about sexual harassment following several high-profile cases.

"I'm scared to talk to a woman these days. I don't even want to keep a female secretary. Who knows, I might end up in jail because of a complaint," New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah told reporters.

Speaking outside parliament, he added that he wasn't "blaming the girls. I'm blaming society itself".

After condemnation from women's rights activists who accused him of trivialising a serious issue, he issued a partial apology for "hurting sentiments" but said he had been misconstrued. "They (my comments) have been completely misunderstood," said Mr Abdullah, who is from the Muslim-majority Kashmir region.

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