A popular Indian spiritual guru sparked a backlash Tuesday after saying a 23-year-old student could have averted a murderous gang-rape by begging for mercy from her attackers.
Self-styled godman Asharam, known to his followers as “Bapu” or father, told his devotees that blame for the assault on a moving bus in New Delhi on December 16 should not just rest with her attackers.
“This tragedy would not have happened if she had chanted God’s name and fallen at the feet of the attackers. The error was not committed by just one side,” he said in video footage which has been widely circulated on the Internet.
Blaming the victim of assault is always cowardly, but it appears to be more common in cases of sexual assault and rape. Here we again see the way in which religion blunts the conscience.