Staring at women for more than 14 seconds is illegal, claims Indian official

A bus stop in New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

A bus stop in New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

An Indian official is being ridiculed on social media after he made a controversial statement claiming it was illegal for a man to stare at a woman for more than 14 seconds.

Surprisingly, no such law exists in the country but excise commissioner in the southern Indian state of Kerala Rishiraj Singh said such a stare could land a man in prison. “A case can be filed against men who stare at women for more than 14 seconds,” Singh said in Kochi on Saturday. The video of his statement has gone viral in the state, sparking humorous reactions and memes on social media websites.

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While many ridiculed the idea of sending to jail just because they happen to stare at women, some thought it was a valid point raised by the official especially in wake of the rising incidents of violence against women in India.

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Some social media users have supported Singh for raising an important issue of women’s safety.

Others, however, suggested that while the intent was to check the rising incidents of rape and violence against women, the methodology ought to be changed.

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