Gangraped girl equally responsible, suggests Asaram Bapu
New Delhi, January 07, 2013
Asaram Bapu courted controversy after he said that the Delhi gangrape victim was equally responsible for the crime and the girl could have called her assailants brothers and begged them to stop.
Asaram’s remarks on the gangrape of the 23-year-old girl sparked condemnation across
the political spectrum and from women’s bodies today with the BJP saying it was “regrettable, deeply disturbing and painful”.
Addressing his followers recently, Asaram said that when the girl encountered six drunk men “she should have taken God‘s name and could have held the hand of one of the men and said I consider you as my brother and should have said to the other two ‘Brother I am helpless, you are my brother, my religious brother.’
She should have taken God’s name and held their hands and feet… then the misconduct wouldn’t have happened.”
He also went on to say, “Galti ek taraf se nahi hoti hai (mistake is not committed from one side).”
The girl was gangraped on the night of December 16 in a moving bus and died nearly a fortnight later at a Singapore hospital.
“The accused were drunk. If the girl had chanted hymns to Goddess Saraswati and to Guru Diksha then she wouldn’t have entered the bus…,” he added.
BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said Asaram is a religious guru and that the country looks upto him.
“His statement is regrettable, deeply disturbing and painful,” he said.
“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 added.
According to a report broadcast on CNN-IBN, Asaram Bapu made the following observations about the Delhi gang-rape.
“Jinone galti ki.. sharabi they. Agar us kanya ne saraswati mantra liya hota, guru diksha li hoti.. toh boy friend ke saath picture dekh kar jis kisi bas mein ghusti nahin. Agar ghus bhi gayi.. toh 6 sharabi the.. Bhagwan ka naam leti aur ek ka haath pakadti “Tere ko toh mai maanti hoon.”
Do ko bolti “Bhaiya! Main abla hoon. Tum mere bhai ho. Dharam ke bhai ho. Bhagwan ka naam lekar haath pakadti, pair pakadti.. itna durachar nahi hota. Galti ek taraf se nahi hoti.”
The spiritual leader’s remarks could be paraphrased thus: Those who were at fault were drunk. Had she taken guru diksha and chanted the Saraswati Mantra, she would not have boarded any random bus after watching a movie with her boyfriend. Even if she did, she should have taken God’s name and asked for mercy.
She should have called them brothers, fallen at their feet and pleaded for mercy. Had she said, “I am a weak woman, you are my brothers”, such brutality would not have happened.
The self-proclaimed godman also said he was against harsher punishments for rape accused as such laws could be misused.
An aide to Asaram sought to downplay the controversy over the remarks.
Neelam Dubey said the remarks were made at a religious discourse in Delhi in the context of how one should invoke God’s name to avoid incidents like crimes against women.
Some reports said the event was held in Rajasthan.
Dubey said Asaram was trying ta drive home the point that incidents like the gangrape of the girl could have been avoided by reciting mantras, by reciting names of Gods.
“If she(victim) would have taken God’s name or recited a mantra God inside her might have suggested her to how to avoid such crimes,” she said, seeking to explain Asaram’s remarks.
“He was giving that idea to his devotees. He was citing the gangrape incident to say one should use commonsense to avoid such incidents,” she added.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said religious leaders should give serious thought before they speak out.
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