ONTD Political

Delhi Rape Victims Are to Blame, Defendants’ Lawyer Says

10:17 am - 01/10/2013
Delhi Rape Victims Are to Blame, Defendants’ Lawyer Says

The lawyer representing three of the men charged with the gang rape and murder of a medical student aboard a moving bus in New Delhi has blamed the victims for the assault, saying he has never heard of a “respected lady” being raped in India.

Manohar Lal Sharma said his clients will plead not guilty to all charges today when they make their next court appearance. His comments come as Indians have reacted with outrage to the opinions of politicians and a religious preacher who have accused westernized women of inviting sexual assaults. Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23-year-old was “wholly responsible” for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.

“Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” Sharma said in an interview at a cafe outside the Supreme Court in India’s capital. “Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”

Sharma’s comments highlight frequently aired attitudes toward women in India. Activists say reporting of sex crimes and police investigations of rape are hindered by a tendency to blame the victim for not following the traditional, conservative social roles ascribed to women.

“This is the mentality which most Indian men are suffering from unfortunately,” said Ranjana Kumari, director for the New Delhi-based Centre for Social Research. “That is the mindset that has been perpetrating this crime because they justify it indirectly, you asked for it so it is your responsibility.”

‘Chant God’s Name’

A spiritual guru, Asharam, sparked an outcry earlier this week when he said the New Delhi victim was equally responsible and should have “chanted God’s name and fallen at the feet of the attackers” to stop the assault.

Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the pro-Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that underpins the country’s main opposition political party, said rapes only occur in Indian cities, not in its villages, because women there adopt western lifestyles.

Sharma said the man and woman should not have been traveling back late in the evening and making their journey on public transport. He also said it was the man’s responsibility to protect the woman and that he had failed in his duty.

“The man has broken the faith of the woman,” Sharma said yesterday. “If a man fails to protect the woman, or she has a single doubt about his failure to protect her, the woman will never go with that man.”

Sharma, 56, a Supreme Court lawyer for the last two decades, says that his clients are innocent.

Courtroom Chaos

“This is a very complicated case and the matter has not been solved yet,” he said. Police have said they have DNA evidence linking all six to the crime.

Ram Singh, the driver of the bus and the alleged ringleader, is struggling to communicate and fluctuating between crying and laughing, Sharma said. Sharma, who has also been appointed to represent Singh’s brother Mukesh and Akshay Kumar Singh, who is unrelated, plans to challenge police over their handling of the evidence.

Sharma’s appointment comes after chaotic scenes on Jan. 7 that forced the magistrate to order a private hearing over concerns for the safety of the accused. Sharma was one of two lawyers denounced by other advocates for volunteering to represent the defendants. Arguments and scuffles over his offer led the magistrate to order the court room be cleared and future sessions to be held behind closed doors.

The gang rape of the woman on Dec. 16 provoked a sustained and charged debate about the safety of women in the world’s biggest democracy. The brutality of the crime and allegations by the male friend of the victim that it took police 45 minutes to respond to calls outraged the nation.

Three Illiterate

The attack on the woman and her friend, which led to her death almost two weeks later, forced the government to address demands for swifter justice, safer streets and heavier sentences in rape cases. India’s top court on Jan. 4 began considering demands for faster trials and the suspension of lawmakers accused of sex crimes.

Sharma said he met the defendants for the first time on Jan. 7 for 15 minutes and was due to talk with them again yesterday. The three defendants he is representing put their thumb prints on forms appointing Sharma as their lawyer because they are illiterate, according to a copy of the documents given to Bloomberg News.

Five of the six accused will be tried for abduction, rape and murder, among other charges, government prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said Jan. 6. The other, said to be a juvenile, has been appearing before a separate judicial panel.

The male friend of the woman who was repeatedly raped and brutalized aboard the bus last month has recounted the two-hour attack which ended with the couple being thrown on to the roadside, ignored by passersby and argued over by police.

Rape Trap

In a Jan. 4 interview with the Zee News television channel, the man, who along with the rape victim hasn’t been officially identified, described how they were lured on to the bus operating illegally on the night of Dec. 16 as they returned home from a movie theater in a southern neighborhood of the Indian capital.

The six men aboard the bus, “which had tinted windows and curtains, had laid a trap for us,” he told the channel. “They beat us up, hit us with an iron rod, snatched our clothes and belongings and threw us off the bus on a deserted stretch.” The woman, who was flown to Singapore for medical treatment, died in the hospital Dec. 29.

Sharma says there are number of discrepancies in the police’s version of the events, which he will reveal in court. The only example he was willing to give is the failure of the police almost three weeks after the attack to determine whether one of the accused is a juvenile.

Sharma criticized the lawyers of a local district association who have said no advocates should represent the accused.

“These people are just seeking revenge,” Sharma said. “They are not seeking justice. A defendant has a right to a lawyer, this is a basic principle of a modern society.”
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hangthemj 10th-Jan-2013 02:50 am (UTC)
this is absolutely atrocious. i feel sick.
chaya 10th-Jan-2013 02:50 am (UTC)
amber_protocol 10th-Jan-2013 03:30 am (UTC)
MFTE. I cannot rage anymore, so I will just silently judge.
nitasee 10th-Jan-2013 02:50 am (UTC)
words fail me so....

hulk smash
homasse 10th-Jan-2013 02:58 am (UTC)
I am imagining that POS lawyer in Loki's place, and it is making the world a slightly better place.
sihaya09 10th-Jan-2013 02:54 am (UTC)
Die, asshole. Just shut the fuck up and die.
tabaqui 10th-Jan-2013 03:21 am (UTC)
FUCK YOU. Gods, just fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.

I have nothing but rage and hate. FUCK.
jettakd 10th-Jan-2013 03:39 am (UTC)
Fuck tis shitbag for putting this pain upon her memory and surviving family.

I also feel really sorry for the friend in this case, because he seems to have done everything possible to have protected the main victim and now this shitbag is trying to say its his responsibility and his failure when he was the only man with a soul and good heart in this case, who tried to do right.
belleweather 10th-Jan-2013 03:50 am (UTC)
I really, really wish I was in any was surprised by this.
ebay313 10th-Jan-2013 03:54 am (UTC)
Because if a woman... leaves her house, or does anything really, she's not respectable. But a man (actually men), rapes and murders a woman and apparently that has no bearing on his respectability? of course -_-
zinnia_rose 10th-Jan-2013 03:54 am (UTC)
This is disgusting. But I wouldn't really expect anything better from the lawyer who's defending these pieces of shit.
darlahood 10th-Jan-2013 04:01 am (UTC)
So what do you have to do to be respectable??
kyra_neko_rei 10th-Jan-2013 04:09 am (UTC)
A simultaneous million contradictory things, some of which are judged by standards that change at the rapist's whim and others of which are completely impossible.
kyra_neko_rei 10th-Jan-2013 04:07 am (UTC)
saying he has never heard of a “respected lady” being raped in India.

By definition, any rape victim is not respected, by her rapist at least.

And of course, if you bend over backwards to look retroactively for anything to paint a victim as deserving of rape every time someone is raped, you're going to come to that conclusion.

How about you let go of the ridiculous, impossible, and oppressive code of conduct requirements that force women to write their lives around avoiding rape while remaining highly vulnerable to it, and do something about the rapists?

Edited at 2013-01-10 04:08 am (UTC)
jenny_jenkins 10th-Jan-2013 04:40 am (UTC)
Fuck you, you piece of worthless shit.
tigerdreams 10th-Jan-2013 05:09 am (UTC)
What I wouldn't give for people to stop treating rape like some sort of environmental hazard that just spontaneously happens to people who do the "wrong" things. (The notion that there's a list of "wrong" things that you can do to provoke or deserve a rape is another huge problem, but one thing at a time...) Rape cannot occur in the absence of a person who chooses to rape people. It's not a meteorological phenomenon. It's a crime that people decide to commit.
alryssa 10th-Jan-2013 05:50 am (UTC)
Seriously. So much fucking rage right now.
executivehpfan 10th-Jan-2013 05:13 am (UTC)
Oh get the fuck outta here.
azur_blue 10th-Jan-2013 05:30 am (UTC)
Fuck him
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