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Guru's view on Indian rape raises anger, but shared by many

Published on Jan 9, 2013 11:41 PM
Indian students shouts slogans as they burn an effigy of Indian spiritual guru Asaram during a protest in New Delhi on Tuesday. Asaram sparked a backlash after saying a 23-year-old student could have averted a murderous gang-rape by begging for mercy from her attackers. The 71-year-old's remarks - the latest in a series of gaffes by public figures blaming women for the country's rape epidemic - drew a chorus of condemnation. -- PHOTO:AFP

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Comments by an Indian spiritual leader that a gang-rape victim shared blame for her assault disgusted many in a country shaken by the crime, but his view represents a deep streak of chauvinism shared by a broad swathe of a society in transition.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student and a male companion were left bleeding on a highway after she was raped and beaten on a moving bus in New Delhi on Dec 16. She died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital from internal injuries.

"Guilt is not one-sided," the guru, Asaram Bapu, told followers this week, adding that if the student had pleaded with her six attackers in God's name, and told them she was of the"weaker sex", they would have relented.

Such views have caused outrage among India's growing urban middle class.

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