New Delhi: Spiritual leader and self-styled Asaram Bapu has hit a new low in the public discourse on the brutal gangrape and murder case of the 23-year-old paramedical student, saying she was partly to blame for what she suffered. He even said that the Delhi braveheart could have begged the attackers to escape.
Even as the self-styled godman blamed the braveheart for her tragic fate, he said that the 23-year-old student was as responsible for the ghastly incident as the six accused who have been arrested by the Delhi Police. The statement by Asaram sparked an outrage as political parties, activists and people from other walks of society also criticised him, demanding that the statement be taken back.
Addressing his supporters, the self-proclaimed godman said, "Only 5-6 people are not the culprits. The victim daughter is as guilty as her rapists. She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop...This could have saved her dignity and life." He quipped, "Can one hand clap? I don't think so."
The self-proclaimed godman said that the Delhi braveheart could have begged the attackers, saying she was as guilty as the rapists.
The statement of the godman was backed by his spokesperson, who instead of apologising or dismissing the statement, reiterated that the braveheart should have reminded the culprits of god to save herself.
"His statement is being misquoted...he just said that the victim is 1 per cent to be blamed. She shouldn't have taken that bus. He was just asking his female devotees to be careful, media is misquoting him," said Neelam Dube.
She further said, "He was just saying that she should've used diplomacy, called them brothers, reminded them of god."
Terming the statement as regrettable, the BJP demanded that the statement be taken back. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "We consider the statement from Asaram Bapu as inappropriate and demand that he takes back the statement."
Meanwhile, there were voices stressing on the need to teach people on giving respect to women. "Making someone a brother is not upon a woman but upon a man. Respect for women must be taught at the grassroots level, right from school, and in every home," said BJP leader Maneka Gandhi.
The Congress also spoke in similar tone, criticising the self-styled godman. Congress leader Rashid Alvi said, "Political leaders and religious leaders must give serious thought before they speak out."
The statement of Asaram Bapu also evoked a sharp reaction from National Commission for Women chief Mamta Sharma, who said such action passed on wrong signals. Asking the godman to rethink on his statement, Sharma said, "Would like to ask Asaram, how would have pleading to the rapists helped? Making such statements pass on the wrong signal. I would ask Asaram to refrain from making such statements."
"I think there has to be a severe censorship of this kind of view and they will have to be told that they cannot be going against the law of the land and cannot make sexiest comment, they cannot violate the dignity and self esteem of women," said NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha.
She further said, "Even if he is spiritual leader and godman, they have to be very very careful, should understand, because it affects minds of people."
Popular actor Ranbir Kapoor was even more critical of the statement of the self-proclaimed godman. The actor said, "He needs to get his head checked."
This comes amidst the trial of the Delhi gangrape-murder case in the Saket court. There was high drama inside the Saket court on Monday as the five accused were produced. Members of the Bar association created a chaos after two lawyers offered to represent the accused, two of whom have reportedly expressed desire to turn approver. The members of the Saket Bar Association had earlier decided not to defend the accused.
Meanwhile, the controversy over the age of the sixth accused in the brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical students continues. The Juvenile Justice Board will take up the matter of verifying the age of the accused minor who claims to be 17.
The Delhi braveheart, a paramedical student, was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus in New Delhi on the night of December 16 and died of her injuries on December 29 in multi-speciality Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.