(News.com.au)--Indian men get "wrong signal" from friendly female tourists, so Western women warned not to socialise alone with locals.
The owner of a famous restaurant in India says the friendliness of western women can confuse local men and lead to sexual assault. Farhang Jehani, who owns The Leopold Cafe, told news.com.au that Indian men often get the "wrong signal" from female tourists who are simply being friendly. "(Female tourists) behave very well. It's not a question of them not behaving," he said.
"They are friendly and that's the problem with India - we take it as a wrong signal and that's the whole thing.
"Indian men take it as a wrong signal and take it as the wrong way."
The Leopold Cafe, in the bustling Colaba district, has risen to global fame since prominently featuring in the novel Shantaram.
The popular tourist jaunt was also the first target of the 2008 Islamist attacks in Mumbai, in which 166 people died - including two Australians - during a three-day rampage.
Mr Jehani said he had not noticed any decline in female travelers despite new statistics showing the number of females visiting India had dropped by 35 per cent in the past three months following a spate of highly publicised sex attacks.
Last month six Indian men allegedly gang-raped a 39-year-old Swiss cyclist who was camping with her husband in a forested area in Datia district in central Madhya Pradesh state.
A British woman also jumped from her hotel balcony in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, which is south of Dehli, when she feared being sexually assaulted.
"I have seen a lot of beautiful young girls coming and they are quite comfortable and they come in groups," Mr Jehani said.
"For Bombay I feel is a safe place but Delhi I cannot say much about it.
"These incidents don’t happen over here."
However, he urged women to take safety precautions.
"Be careful - don't get too friendly with strangers," he said.
"If you have something to eat and drink with them be careful.
"If you're in a group it's OK because you're protected by other people but if you're single or in a couple avoid that kind of get-together."
Mr Jehani said the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old Indian student by six men on a bus in New Delhi in December was "brutal".
"You don't call them human beings - you call them animals," he said.
"India is still a safe country ... it is still safe for women."
Mr Jehani said business was booming.
"In fact I feel tourism to our place has increased because normally we just have backpackers but, of late, we have tour groups who come here," he said.
"I have not been worried (about bad publicity) because these things happen more in Delhi and other places and not in Mumbai so much. Mumbai is a safe place, even as of yesterday.
"Every corner of Bombay is quite populated whereas in Delhi I noticed the streets are quite isolated on that basis the chances of these things happening are more possible."
The Australian Government says women travellers need to take "particular care" in all parts of India, even when traveling in a group.
"Women travellers often receive unwanted attention and we continue to receive reports of verbal and physical harassment by groups of men against Western women," according to its smart traveller website.
"There have been a number of sexual offences reported against foreign women in different parts of India, including in major cities and tourist destinations such as Goa.
"Women should exercise vigilance, and avoid walking in less populous and unlit areas, including city streets, village lanes and beaches.
"We have received reports of harassment against women, particularly in taxis and auto rickshaws."
Published on: 04/02/2013