"Do we roam in streets at midnight as we got Independence at midnight? It would have been better if the girl did not travel by a private bus at that time," the AP Congress Committee President Botsa Satyanarayana told reporters here.
However, realising the possible fallout of his remarks, Satyanarayana, who is also the state Transport Minister, hastily re-convened a press conference and retracted his words.
"As a father myself, I only tried to express my anguish," he clarified.
"What happened was very unfortunate and I strongly condemn it," he said, referring to the horrific gang-rape incident that has numbed the nation.
He also expressed his regret for having hurt the feelings of women and said the government should ensure safety and security of all.
The gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in South Delhi on the night of December 16 has triggered protests across the country with New Delhi being the epicentre of the demonstrations.