India's top police official has caused outrage for uttering the statement: "If you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it."
Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha made his remarks during a conference about illegal sports betting on Tuesday.
Speaking in support of legalising gambling, Sinha suggested if the New Delhi could not stop the practice, it could at least make some revenue out of it, the Hindustan Times reported.
He said: “If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying, ‘If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it'."
His comments have been met with widespread condemnation, with some activists calling for his resignation.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat told the Associated Press Sinha's comments were offensive to women everywhere.
"He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women."
If you cannot prevent rape, enjoy it : Ranjit Sinha's state of mind ?-- Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) November 13, 2013
Ranjit Sinha & C.B. Why use rape analogy, when they know people are going to react ?-- Maddy (@happyquoka) November 13, 2013
Ranjit Sinha, India's top police unit boss, says: 'If you can't prevent rape, you might as well enjoy it.' What is wrong with some people?-- Joel Taylor (@JoelTaylorMetro) November 13, 2013
"If you can't prevent rape, enjoy it." - Ranjit Sinha
no amount of apology excuses this statement!! its a thought process!-- shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) November 13, 2013
Following the backlash, Sinha has apologised.
In a statement printed by the Times of India, he said: "I gave my opinion that betting should be legalised and that if the laws cannot be enforced that does not mean the laws should not be made.
"This is as erroneous as saying that if rape is inevitable, one should lie back and enjoy it.
"I regret any hurt caused as the same was inadvertent and unintended. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues."
Sinha's comments come in the wake of the death of a 23-year-old gang rape victim, which sent women's rights to the top of India's social agenda. Four men found guilty of her death were sentenced to death in September.
India's National Crime Records Bureau says 24,206 rape cases were registered in the country in 2011, though the number of unreported cases is believed to be much higher.
A woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours, according to figures quoted by the BBC.
Despite this, official figures show that there was only one conviction for rape in the whole of 2012.