“Can you believe this! I know this goes on over here too, but this poor girl was unmercifully beaten and tortured, her friend said that even animals don’t act like her attackers did!!’
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.
Protest: The vast majority of Indians have rallied behind the victim and demanded justice for her death
Support: The death of the 23-year-old rape victim has been treated as a national tragedy by many Indians
Controversy: Asaram Bapu has made headlines for outspoken behaviour in the past
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.’