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Women are flooding social media with pictures that show them in distressed denims to protest against controversial remarks on ripped jeans made by the new Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat. Mr Rawat made the comments on Tuesday at a workshop organised by the Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in Dehradun.

Mr Rawat said that he was on a flight when he came across a woman, accompanied by two children, wearing ripped jeans. The woman told him that she runs an NGO.

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The chief minister said he was concerned about the example she was setting for society.

“If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to society, to our kids?” the Uttarakhand Chief Minister said.

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He expressed his distaste for “bare knees” and asked: “Kaynchi se sanskaar (culture by scissors) – showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids – these are the values being given now. Where is this coming from, if not at home?”

The comments sparked an immediate backlash on social media. Congress leader Sanjay Jha was among the first to react. “Wearing “#rippedjeans” destroys our culture, it seems. It leads to substance abuse. And a societal breakdown. Women should strictly avoid this sacrilege against our pristine customs, says Uttarakhand CM,” he tweeted while posting a pic in ripped jeans on Wednesday.