The Delhi gangrape and murder would not have happened if the victim had called the rapist-killers her brothers and fallen at their feet. Sounds bizarre?
Self-proclaimed Godman Asaram Bapu actually said this, insisting that it would have stopped the accused from doing what they did.
In an attempt to explain the reasons why six men gang-raped and murdered the 23-year-old woman, Asaram said in a recent sermon that no mistake could be committed just by one side, blaming obliquely the victim for what happened to her.
Asaram, who has an ashram in Ahmedabad, said, "The girl should have taken God's name and could have held the hand of one of the men and said, 'I consider you my brother' and to the other two, she should have said, 'Brothers, I am helpless. You are my brothers, my religious brothers'. Then the misconduct wouldn't have happened."
The remarks led to condemnation across the political spectrum, although Asaram later explained, "I only meant that had even one of the six accused taken 'diksha' (initiation into his religious teachings), the crime would not have occurred."
While BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad called the statement "deeply disturbing and painful", Congress' Rashid Alvi said religious leaders should think hard before making statements.
An Asaram aide, however, quickly stepped in to explain that what her guru meant was that incidents like rape could be averted by chanting hymns and taking God's name.
Asaram made another controversial statement in Faridabad on Monday, criticising the "anti-man" campaign after the gang rape incident.
He said no law, which could lead to men being framed, should be made.
Meanwhile, an entrepreneur, Tehseen Poonawalla, filed a petition with the National Commission for Women to take up the issue and move court against Asaram.