Demonstrators from All India Democratic Women's Association
protest against the recent killings of two teenage girls,
in New Delhi. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
A lawmaker from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's
ruling party has described rape as a social crime, saying
"sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong", in the latest
controversial remarks by an Indian politician about rape.
The political leaders of Uttar Pradesh, the state where two
cousins aged 12 and 14 were raped and hanged last week, have
faced criticism for failing to visit the scene and for
accusing the media of hyping the story.
A regional politician from Modi's own party, the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP), said on Thursday that the crime of rape
can only be considered to have been committed if it is
reported to police.
"This is a social crime which depends on men and women.
Sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong," said Babulal
Gaur, the home minister responsible for law and order in the
BJP-run central state of Madhya Pradesh.
"Until there's a complaint, nothing can happen," Gaur told
Gaur also expressed sympathy with Mulayam Singh Yadav, head
of the regional Samajwadi Party that runs Uttar Pradesh. In
the recent election, Mulayam criticised legal changes that
foresee the death penalty for gang rape, saying: "Boys commit
mistakes: Will they be hanged for rape?"
The BJP dismissed Gaur's comments as an expression of his
personal views, and not the party's.
Modi, who was sworn in as prime minister last week after a
landslide election victory, has so far remained silent over
the double killing in the village of Katra Shahadatganj,
around half a day's drive east of New Delhi.
The father and uncle of one of the victims said they tried to
report the crime to local police but had been turned away.
Three men have been arrested over the killings. Two policemen
were held on suspicion of trying to cover up the crime.
Although a rape is reported in India every 21 minutes on
average, law enforcement failures mean that such crimes - a
symptom of pervasive sexual and caste oppression - are often
not reported or properly investigated, human rights groups
More sex crimes have come to light in recent days. A woman in
a nearby district of Uttar Pradesh was gang-raped, forced to
drink acid and strangled to death. Another was shot dead in
northeast India while resisting attackers, media reports
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he was
"especially appalled" by the rape and murder of the two
"We say no to the dismissive, destructive attitude of, 'Boys
will be boys'," he said in a statement this week that made
clear his contempt for the language used by Mulayam Singh