Saying that the sale of sex toys in India would have "severe consequences in society", a Madhya Pradesh minister has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.
Even as a condom with a vibrating ring continues to stir controversy in the state, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya urged in a letter to Manmohan Singh that the import and sale of products like sex toys be banned.
"The Madhya Pradesh government stresses yoga shiksha (yoga education) instead of the centre's yon shiksha (sex education). There is an urgent need to rise above party lines in this matter," Vijayvargiya said.
About six months ago, HLL started to sell Crezendo - a three-condom pack with a vibrating ring - at a price of Rs.125. The Madhya Pradesh government is contemplating a ban on its sale in the state if Crezendo is proved to be a sex toy.
"Hindustan Latex Ltd (HLL), which is under the union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, recently launched the vibrating ring that is imported from China," Vijayvargiya said.
He quoted statistics to say that sex toys had an international market in the range of Rs.400 billion and China manufactured 70 percent of such toys. "It has found a new market in India, now officially since HLL is purchasing the product from it.
"The sale of such toys will lead to severe consequences in society. And they should be banned. But the union government is turning a Nelson's eye despite such sale taking place openly in the national capital," according to Vijayvargiya.
While Vijayvargiya is convinced that Crezendo is a sex toy, Mukesh Gupta, an HLL distributor here, denies the allegation. "It is not a sex toy but simply a pleasure enhancer that is in great demand," Gupta said.
But the minister said: "Condoms are used for family planning. When they are used for pleasure with devices like vibrators, they become sex toys.
"Some students from a Bhopal institute complained to me a week ago about the abundant availability of sex toys. I have taken up the matter with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, urging him to take steps to ban the sale of such products," Vijayvargiya told IANS.
The minister, however, denied media reports that the ban has already been imposed. "We are still examining the issue and may ban the product if it does not meet specifications as per the law or if it is found to be against our culture."
Media reports claim that the Madhya Pradesh Drugs Control Department has already started an investigation into the sale of 'vibrating condoms'.
However, the Controller of Food and Drug Administration Chandrahas Dube said Wednesday he had no idea about the product nor had he been asked by anyone to investigate.
Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Ajay Vishnoi also said he was "clueless" about any such controversy.