Panaji, April 7: Opposition Congress on Wednesday hit back at Goa minister Deepak Dhavalikar, whose party MGP is the alliance partner in the BJP-led government, over his remarks on convent schools and Indian culture, saying that BJP veteran LK Advani still remains a "Hindutva icon" despite being the product of a missionary school.
Dhavalikar, who heads the portfolio of Factories and Boilers, has stoked a controversy by urging parents against enrolling their wards in convent schools "since they do not teach Hindu culture". He also said that the Western culture provokes rape.
"Advani, who is the topmost BJP leader, went to Catholic school (sic) during his childhood. (But) he remains an icon of Hindutva," Congress's state unit spokesman Agnelo Fernandes told reporters. He said that despite attending a missionary school, Advani did not become a western-cultured person.
"Convent school education did not make him a western- cultured person. Why is Dhavalikar raising such issues which have the potential to cause the communal hatred?" he asked.
The Congress leader said that people should not fall prey to such statements that link Western culture with rape. Interestingly, Dhavalikar's wife Lata had caused a flutter when she said that rapes were on the rise as women were aping western culture.
Echoing his wife, Dhavalikar said today that the "way people dress these days fuels incidents of rape".
"When girls followed Hindu culture, there were no instances of rape. Now, people have changed the way they behave and dress and you have seen how the number of rapes are on the rise," Dhavalikar told PTI.
Lata, a functionary of controversial right-wing organisation, Sanatan Sanstha, was addressing a convention in Margao on Sunday where she appealed to the parents not to enrol their children in missionary schools.
The minister said that his wife's comments linking the rise of rape with "women aping Western culture" was true. "Are convent schools teaching about our culture? You meet the students from convent (schools) and judge for yourself," he said.