The infamous New Delhi Gang Rape of 2012 horrified the world. Since then, India has put forth a number efforts to create strict measures against rape. Unfortunately, incidents of rape continue despite these efforts.
Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped by 13 men in her rural village in eastern India as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community. Last year, ten men were arrested for gang raping a 21-year-old woman. Even more shocking, a 7-year-old girl was raped inside a state-run school in the Indian capital.
Many netizens are now pointing a finger to politicians who appear to be making matters worse.
Abu Azmi, of India’s Socialist Party, recently claimed that women who engage in premarital sex should be sentenced to death. If this isn’t jarring enough, he claimed that women should receive this sentence even if they were raped.
“If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam,” Azmi said. “The solution is this: Any woman, whether married or unmarried, who goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.”
As expected, thousand of people reacted in anger. Over 11,000 Twitter comments were made against Azmi’s statement. In fact, even Azmi’s daughter-in-law spoke out. Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia tweeted, “if wot im reading about my father in laws statements r true then me and Farhan are deeply embarrassed n ashamed…(sic).”
Since making the statement, Azmi has tried to clarify his words. “I never said that the girl who is raped should be punished. I said rapist should be punished and girl is a victim. I said that all of us should show solidarity with the girl,” Mr Azmi said in Mumbai. “I will never make such statement, only a mad person will say such things,” he added.
Unfortunately, the public is not buying it. Azmi joins a list of politicians who have received heat for their inappropriate comments concerning rape.
Late last year, Central Bureau of Investigation chief Ranjit Sinha faced public outrage because of his inappropriate comment. Sinha compared gambling and rape by stating,”If you can’t enforce it, it is like you can’t prevent rape, enjoy it.”
Months later, female politician Asha Mirje claimed that rape occurs when women act and dress inappropriately. She stated that women needed to be more mindful of whether or not they were “inviting” sexual assault.
All these politicians have tried to retract their statement after public outrage. As you can expect, their apologies have not been accepted.