No Skirts Please, Minister Mahesh Sharma Advises Foreign Tourists

Don’t wear skirts – this piece of advice is in the list of dos and don’ts handed to tourists on their arrival in India, Union Minister Mahesh Sharma has said.

“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’.” Mr Sharma, the Minister of State for Culture, said on Sunday.

India, the minister continued, is a “cultural country” and “we have a different dress code for temples. Kindly keep that in mind while dressing up.”

He was responding to questions on the safety of tourists in Agra, a big draw for those who travel to India to see the magnificent Taj Mahal.

Asked whether he was recommending a dress code for tourists visiting India, the 55-year-old minister clarified: “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.”

Despite the clarification, Mr Sharma has not escaped the expected storm on Twitter, where he was trending on Monday morning.

Kapil Mishra, a minister of Delhi’s AAP government, tweeted that he would write to Mr Sharma “requesting him not to insult nation by such advisories.”

Other tweets are both critical and supportive of the minister.

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