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India polls: Party leader sparks backlash by calling rapists 'poor fellows' who made 'mistakes'

Published on Apr 11, 2014 3:56 PM
 
In this photograph taken on March 2, 2014, Leader of India's Samajwadi Party Mulayam Singh Yadav gestures as he addresses a public rally "Desh Banao Desh Bachao" at the Parade Grounds in Allahabad. The mother of a student who was fatally gang-raped on a bus led the outrage on April 11, 2014, against an Indian political leader who described three convicted multiple rapists as "poor fellows" who had made "mistakes". During a rally in the state of Uttar Pradesh on April 10, Mulayam Singh Yadav said his Samajwadi Party would try to change the law on punishments for rapists after India's ongoing elections as he spoke out in defence of three men who have been sentenced to death for repeat sexual assaults. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The mother of a student who was fatally gang-raped on a bus led the outrage on Friday against an Indian political leader who described three convicted multiple rapists as "poor fellows" who had made "mistakes".

During a rally in the state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav said his Samajwadi Party would try to change the law on punishments for rapists after India's ongoing elections as he spoke out in defence of three men who have been sentenced to death for repeat sexual assaults.

"Three poor fellows have been sentenced to death. Should rape cases lead to hanging?" said the 74-year-old Mr Yadav, whose party governs the electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. "They are boys, they make mistakes," he added in reference to the three who were sentenced to death by a court in Mumbai last week after they were convicted of taking part in two gang-rapes at the same place.

They were the first death sentences to be handed down for multiple sex attacks since the law was toughened in the wake of the outrage over the December 2012 attack on the bus in New Delhi.

 
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