India Rape Suspects Tortured As Ordered By Female Minister Uma Bharti

The Indian water minister ordered individuals suspected of rape to be tortured as their accusers watched, hoping to deter future crimes, she revealed Friday. Uma Bharti, a member of the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, made the comments...

India Rape Suspects Tortured As Ordered By Female Minister Uma Bharti

The Indian water minister ordered individuals suspected of rape to be tortured as their accusers watched, hoping to deter future crimes, she revealed Friday. Uma Bharti, a member of the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, made the comments in graphic detail while campaigning for a local politician in the northern city of Agra.

The Uttar Pradesh state government failed to take action so she ordered police to beat the suspects without mercy in front of their alleged victims so that "mothers and sisters" would be able to get "closure," Bharti said according to BBC News.

"The rapists should be hung upside down and beaten till their skin comes off," Bharti said. "Salt and chili should be rubbed on their wounds until they scream."

Referencing her time as chief minister in Madhya Pradesh between 2003 and 2004, she continued: "I would tell the cops to hang the rapists upside down and beat them so hard that they would cry out. I would tell women to watch through windows of the police station."

According to reports, Bharti persisted even after authorities protested. When one policeman refused to carry out the punishments, Bharti reportedly compared the rape suspects to Ravana, an evil demon king in Hindu mythology, and said they deserved to be beheaded as such. 

India reported 34,651 cases of rape in 2015. Activists, however, said the number was likely much higher as discussion of the crime was once considered taboo and some sectors of Indian society were still hesitant in coming forward with their experiences. Bharti has vocally advocated for breaking the silence on rape and called for harsher punishments for perpetrators. In her speech, she referenced a July case in which a mother and daughter were gang-raped in Bulandshahr near Delhi and accused authorities of failing to deliver justice adequately as suspects were later released on bail. 

Other notable cases, such as a deadly 2012 gang rape in Delhi, have drawn mass protests calling on Indian authorities to do more to ensure women's safety throughout the country. Indian officials have responded by requiring all new phones be installed with a panic button by this year, and GPS by next year.

 

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