Fury after guru says Delhi gang rape was the victim's fault
A self-styled Indian holy man says the victim of the horrific rape could have avoided harm if she had been more friendly to her killers.
- Hugo Gye and Suzannah Hills
- January 8, 2013
A self-described 'spiritual guru' has sparked outrage in India after saying that the 23-year-old rape victim who died after being assaulted by six men was partly responsible for her own attack.
Asaram Bapu said that the victim, whose fate has drawn the sympathy of the world and been treated as a national tragedy within India, was 'as guilty as her rapists'.
He added that she should have been more friendly to her attackers if she wanted to preserve her own life.
Politicians and web users have reacted with fury to the 71-year-old guru's comments.
Asaram Bapu's controversial intervention in the case comes on the day that five of the woman's six alleged attackers appeared in court to face charges of murder, rape and abduction.
A judge ordered that the courtroom should be closed to the public after more than 150 people tried to cram in to a room designed for around 30 during the suspects' initial hearing.
'Only five to six people are not the culprits,' Asaram Bapu said. 'The victim is as guilty as her rapists.
'She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop.'
He added: 'This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don't think so.'
Leading political figures were quick to condemn the inflammatory comments, which one opposition politician called 'regrettable, deeply disturbing and painful'.
Sandeep Dikshit, from the ruling Congress party, said, 'Such comments should be condemned as much as possible,' while his colleague Rashid Alvi added that religious figures should 'give serious thought' before commenting on public affairs.
Many Indians took to social media to express contempt for Asaram Bapu's views.
@SahilBulla tweeted: 'Dear Asaram Bapu, one hand can never clap but one finger can easily show you what we think of you.'
The guru even sparked a protest by a social activism group, who gathered in Ahmedabad waving signs saying 'Shame on Asaram' and burning effigies of him.
'We demand that Asaram apologise to the women of the country and urge him to take back his words,' protest leader Sanjay Gadhvi said as he revealed plans to deface Asaram's publicity posters and demonstrate outside his talks.
A spokesman for the leader denied that he had been insensitive about the woman's death, but added: 'If she would have taken God's name or recited a mantra God inside her might have suggested her to how to avoid such crimes.'
Source: Daily Mail