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Indian guru blames Delhi rape victim
 

By AFP

January 08, 2013 - Updated 1238 PKT
From Web Edition
 
 



NEW DELHI: A popular Indian spiritual guru sparked a backlash Tuesday after saying a 23-year-old student could have averted a murderous gang-rape by begging for mercy from her attackers.

 

Self-styled godman Asharam, known to his followers as "Bapu" or father, told his devotees that blame for the assault on a moving bus in New Delhi on December 16 should not just rest with her attackers.

 

"This tragedy would not have happened if she had chanted God's name and fallen at the feet of the attackers. The error was not committed by just one side," he said in video footage which has been widely circulated on the Internet.

 

The 71-year-old's remarks -- the latest in a series of gaffes by public figures blaming women for the country's rape epidemic -- drew a chorus of condemnation.

 

Ravi Shankar Prasad, spokesman for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the statement was "deeply disturbing and painful".

 

"For him to make the statement in relation to a crime which has shocked the conscience of the country is not only unfortunate but deeply regrettable," he told reporters.

 

The Hindu newspaper said it was "a disgrace when a man of religion stoops so low".

 

"Asharam deserves to be condemned in the strongest words," the daily added in an editorial.

 

The editorial also criticised politicians from the ruling Congress party as well as the BJP for their sexist commentary on the Delhi rape and the need for Indian women to stay home and make traditional choices.

 

"Their notions of... an ideal society appear rooted in the very prejudices that have engendered a culture of violence against women, the Delhi incident being its most recent and horrific manifestation," the newspaper said.

 

Abhijit Mukherjee, the son of India's president who is a Congress lawmaker, landed himself in hot water last month after comparing women who took part in protests over the gang-rape to patched up second-hand cars.

 

Five men have been charged with rape and murder in the December 16 attack on the young student. A sixth accused, who is 17, is to be tried in a separate court for juveniles.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reader Comments
Now it is more clear where the philosophy about women comes from in this culture - disturbing to say the least

Susan
USA
What the guru is saying is shocking so that it will be remembered. Shock can instantly invoke awareness, and it is only awareness that can save a potential victim's life. Awareness, arising from shock, may also save India.

Roger Baker
Ireland
What the guru is saying is shocking so that it will be remembered. Shock can instantly invoke awareness, and it is only awareness that can save a potential victim's life. Awareness, arising from shock, may also save India.

Roger Baker
Ireland
This is some serious ignorance by a man with susceptible followers. Very very ignorant old fool.

Biff
USA
Pure stupidity

casey
USA
 
 
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