Indian city considers mannequin ban to curb sex crime

MUMBAI (AFP) - The city council in the Indian city of Mumbai came under fire on Wednesday for a proposal to ban lingerie-clad mannequin dummies in shops and markets for fear they could encourage sex crime.

Commentators and women's rights group have ridiculed the draft directive by Mumbai's Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) at a time when the country is trying to curb crimes against women.

The proposal by BMC member Ritu Tawade awaits final clearance from the civic body's chief.

"I believe that mannequins, especially the two-piece clothes (bikinis), have an impact on the incidence of crimes against women in the state. Such a display affects the mindset of men," Mr Tawade told NDTV television channel on Tuesday.

Mannequins sporting underwear or bikinis are a common sight at retail showrooms along city streets and shopping malls in the Indian commercial capital, which is home to the raunchy Bollywood film industry.

Women's rights activist Sharada Sathe rubbished the idea.

"What nonsense. Mannequins are on display in so many countries. Thinking (of committing a crime) is in the head and not from an outside source," she told AFP.

BMC officials did not return calls when contacted by AFP.

Mr Tawade's proposal has sparked jokes and criticism on Twitter, where former journalist and politician Pritish Nandy wrote: "I have never been aroused by a mannequin. Maybe our BMC corporators are?"

An article on Indian news portal Firstpost said: "Except a handful of perverts who need the provocation of a plastic doll in lace to pounce on women, average Indian men don't break into sweat and run into lampposts at the mere sight of lingerie."

India's parliament has passed a law imposing strong penalties for sex offences against women following the fatal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus in mid-December that sparked nationwide protests about the lack of safety for women.

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