Tuesday 21 October 2014

Victim deserved to be 'burnt alive', says rapists' lawyer

Dean Nelson in New Delhi

Published 16/09/2013 | 05:00

Defense lawyer AP Singh speaks to the media after a judge pronounced death sentences for all four men convicted in the rape and murder of a student on a moving New Delhi bus last year, in New Delhi

The Indian lawyer for two of the four Delhi gang rapists sentenced to hang last week has criticised the victim's parents for allowing her to go out at night with a boy, and claimed he would have "burnt her alive" if she had been his daughter.

The victim, 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh, was attacked by five men and a juvenile on a bus she boarded with her boyfriend.

The couple were on their way home from a popular Delhi shopping mall on December 16 last year.

She was gang-raped and attacked with an iron rod. She died two weeks later in hospital.

The brutality of the attack provoked nationwide demonstrations and a debate on the scale of sexual violence against women in India.

The victim, a dedicated student and dutiful daughter who wanted to help lift her family out of poverty, had symbolised millions of young women's determination to achieve equal rights in India.

AP Singh, a defence lawyer who represented two of the convicts, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, claimed she had had premarital sex and said: "If my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive. All parents should adopt such an attitude."

Ranjana Kumari, a women's rights campaigner, said that his views were "Taliban-like".

She added: "He should be arrested and his licence to practise should be withdrawn."

Last week, Sharma (20) broke down in tears as he was sentenced alongside Pawan Gupta (19), Mukesh Singh (26), and Thakur (28) to be "hanged by the neck" for luring Ms Singh on to a bus and attacking her with an iron rod.

The gang's leader, Mukesh Singh's brother Ram, was found hanged in his cell earlier this year, while another member of the group, a juvenile who was aged 17 at the time, was sentenced to three years in a reform home last month. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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