Victims of New Delhi attack are to blame, defence lawyer for three accused says

Published: January 9, 2013
Indian women activists from the Communist Party of India -- hold placards during a protest against the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, in Siliguri on January 8, 2013. (Photo: Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian women activists from the Communist Party of India — hold placards during a protest against the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi, in Siliguri on January 8, 2013. (Photo: Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images)

BLOOMBERG

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 after Indians 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.”

‘THE MAN HAS BROKEN THE FAITH OF THE WOMAN’

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 travelling 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.

NATION OUTRAGED

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.

Describing the victim’s battle for life, her father said in an interview with British television channel ITV yesterday that he was initially optimistic that she would survive the attack.

He said his daughter’s ambition was to be a doctor.

“Her main aim was that our family wouldn’t have to suffer any more,” the father said, his face blurred by the channel to protect his identity.

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.

MULTIPLE CHARGES

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.

‘SEEKING REVENGE’

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 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.”

Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

10492451_916453075048089_6150063817450476861_n

India’s Got Talent one-legged dancer alleges newlywed husband is a “fraud,” married her for money

VANCOUVER DESI The one-legged dancer who took India by storm after a stint on India’s Got Talent has accused her newly wed husband of lying…
Continue Reading »

img_1758

Calgary soccer tournament in murder victim’s memory brings together cultural groups

JEFF MACKINNON CALGARY HERALD Jessie Lail just wanted to do something to keep his friend’s memory alive. Organizing a soccer tournament was a no-brainer, as…
Continue Reading »

The IIO is investigating after a man died in Transit Police custody Thursday. Police had arrested the man under the Mental Health Act after he was acting erratically on a Surrey bus. PNG Files

Watchdog investigating after Surrey man dies in Transit Police custody

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI The Independent Investigations Office wil probe the death of a man who died after being arrested by Transit Police. Late Thursday…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

img_1758

Calgary soccer tournament in murder victim’s memory brings together cultural groups

JEFF MACKINNON CALGARY HERALD Jessie Lail just wanted to do something to keep his friend’s memory alive. Organizing a soccer tournament was a no-brainer, as…
Continue Reading »

The IIO is investigating after a man died in Transit Police custody Thursday. Police had arrested the man under the Mental Health Act after he was acting erratically on a Surrey bus. PNG Files

Watchdog investigating after Surrey man dies in Transit Police custody

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI The Independent Investigations Office wil probe the death of a man who died after being arrested by Transit Police. Late Thursday…
Continue Reading »

vandana2

Surrey woman wins Canadian immigrant contest aimed to inspire others to find success

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vandana Khetarpal was first planning to move her family from India to Surrey, she mainly heard immigrant horror stories where…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

monkey man

India employs men dressed in ape suits to scare away monkeys from parliament

VANCOUVER DESI The Indian government has hired ape-men or men dressed as langurs to scare off monkeys from the parliament and government buildings, according to…
Continue Reading »

weird news

Retired Indian soldier’s ear sliced off for refusing to shave his moustache

HINDUSTAN TIMES A retired Indian soldier’s alleged refusal to shave off his luxuriant twirled moustache cost him his ear in a Bihar town. Ramanuj Verma…
Continue Reading »

weird news

Man finds five-foot-long crocodile in his bathroom

VANCOUVER DESI A family in Western India got the shock of their life when a five-foot-long crocodile was discovered in the shower of their family…
Continue Reading »

India-rape-protest

Minor allegedly raped by temple priest in southern India

HINDUSTAN TIMES An 11-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a temple priest in Bangalore on Tuesday, less than a month after a seven-year-old was raped…
Continue Reading »

10448541_801823293184201_5325323972611294529_desi

Miss Diva 2014 gears up for auditions

IANS New Delhi – Miss Diva, that was launched last year as an official franchise from India for Miss Universe, is set to start auditions…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan says he is bored of the exaggerated rival between him and Salman Khan

IANS Mumbai  – Superstar Shah Rukh Khan seems to be fed up with questions on his rival Salman Khan and says he is bored of…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan speaks during an appearance on a television show in Mumbai  June 5, 2014. STRSTRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Shah Rukh Khan to host Got Talent World Stage Live

IANS Mumbai  – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is all set to host Got Talent World Stage Live, says talent has no competition and…
Continue Reading »

Sridevi in English Vinglish.

English Vinglish brings in $420,000 at Japanese box office

IANS New Delhi  – Sridevi’s English Vinglish has amassed $420,000 at the Japanese box office, as it continues its dream run in international markets. It…
Continue Reading »