India minister tells foreign tourists: 'Don't wear skirts'

India foreign tourists Image copyright AFP
Image caption Millions of foreign tourists visit India every year

India's culture minister has been criticised after saying that the government was advising foreign tourists not to wear skirts in India.

Mahesh Sharma said "a list of dos and don'ts" given to tourists at airports also advised them not to venture out alone at night in small towns.

He later clarified that he was speaking "in the context of religious places", and that he spoke out of "concern".

Mr Sharma has also been criticised in the past for controversial comments.

He's often made provocative statements blaming "westernisation" for India's ills and last year, he said "nights out for girls was not part of Indian culture".

His latest offending remark was made on Sunday when he told reporters that tourists were being handed a "welcome kit" at the airport which contains a card with "a list of 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 a friend as precaution."

On being asked by reporters if he was suggesting a dress code for visiting women, the minister said India was a "cultural country" and "we have a different dress code for temples. Kindly keep that in mind while dressing up".

Despite his clarification, the minister has been ridiculed on social media:

Image copyright Jay Vora
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