Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti has said she ordered the public torture of “rapists” during her tenure as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, a startling admission in a country still debating harsher punishments for crimes against women.
At a rally in Agra on Thursday, Bharti said she had ordered similar punishment in Madhya Pradesh -- she was CM between 2003 and 2004 -- and didn’t pay heed to police officers who said such “inhuman” punishment would be a violation of human rights.
“I told those police officers that human rights are meant for humans and not for demons. I asked them to let the victims girls see all this through a window and hear the screams of the rapists.”
The Union water resources minister blamed the Samajwadi Party government for not enforcing similar punishment to the men suspected to have raped two women off a highway in Bulandshahr last year, and allowing bail.
“These accused should have been publicly tortured while hung upside down and their skins peeled off. Salt should be added to their wounds so that they feel the agony of rape’ she stated.
India toughened its anti-rape laws after public outrage over the December 16, 2012 gang rape but many demand the death penalty and public punishments for rape convicts to dissuade potential criminals in what is among the most unsafe countries for women in the world.
The Bulandshahr rape, which occurred on July 30 last year, had triggered nationwide outrage, especially over alleged police inaction when an emergency call was made, and was seen as a mark of deteriorating law and order under the SP administration. The region goes to the polls on Saturday and the BJP is fighting against the SP-Congress combine and the Bahujan Samaj Party.