India city to ban lingerie mannequins as anti-rape effort

Mumbai, India, is a bra strap width away from banishing mannequins dressed in lingerie, a move critics say will not stop rape.

MUMBAI, India — Mannequins displaying lingerie and other skimpy clothing may soon be banned in India's cosmopolitan city of Mumbai as an anti-rape measure.

The municipal council overwhelmingly passed a resolution last month barring stores from putting scantily clad mannequins outside their shops. The municipal commissioner has yet to give the required approval of the resolution.

City council member Ritu Tawde said she proposed the mannequin ban because such displays degrade women and could provoke men to attack them.

Indians have increasingly demanded stronger protections for women since the gang rape and killing of a student on a bus in the capital of New Delhi in December.

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India mannequin ban: Mannequins in lingerie line a mall shop window in Mumbai, India.AP Photo: Rajanish Kakade

"Such people get provoked by mannequins. After all, a mannequin is a replica of a woman's body. That's why I oppose it: because mannequins do not suit Indian culture," Tawde said. However, shop owners will still be able to display mannequins how they want inside their stores, she said.

Business officials ridiculed the resolution, saying it would have no impact on violence against women.

"We are living in the 21st century where these kinds of things, all porn, the movies, the pictures, all these things are available on websites, available on mobiles. (A) mannequin hardly makes any difference to the people," said Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders' Welfare Association.

Tawde said risqué Internet images were very different than the mannequins.

"If someone wants to watch pornography on the Net, that is a conscious choice that he is making. In this case, the mannequins are everywhere and people don't have a choice. They run into them when they step out of their homes and walk on the streets," she said.

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