India's tourism and culture minister, Mahesh Sharma, on Monday drew widespread criticism after he advised foreign tourists not to wear skirts in the country.
Sharma on Sunday said tourists would be handed a "a list of dos and don'ts" at airports that would advise them not to wear skirts or go out alone at night if they are in small cities.
The comments drew flak, following which Sharma clarified Monday that he was referring only to religious places and that he "spoke out of concern".
"I was speaking about religious places, like temples. I did not comment on what women should wear or not. I am the father of two daughters, I cannot put a ban on what women wear," Sharma said.
Sharma, from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has been ridiculed for his controversial comments in the past.
Last year, he said "nights out for girls were not part of Indian culture" and added he would defend India from "encroachment by Western culture."
Despite the minister's rebuttal, many Indians criticized him online. "MaheshSharma go home & make a sandwich. Don't dictate terms to women under garb of Indian culture," one Twitter user named SheSays tweeted.
"How are you less than a Taliban? They also want to control what to wear, what to eat? " Rajesh Sharma, from the opposition Aam Aadmi (Common Man's) Party, asked.