In India, the Socialist Party’s Maharashtra unit chief Abu Azmi recently condemned premarital coitus and called for the hanging of women who engage in such activities, while at the same time promising to scrap a law that gives the death penalty to rapists if he’s elected prime minister.
Over the past years India has already managed to gain a reputation of men treating the streets like an all you can rape buffet. Several gang rapes have been reported internationally and the United Nations have urged India to reconsider its views on women.
Azmi’s sentiments were echoed by the head of India’s Samajwadi Socialist Party, Mulayam Singh Yadav, when he said it wasn’t uncommon “for boys to make mistakes,” and that he would get rid of a recently introduced law that handed death sentences to repeat rape offenders.
Three men from Mumbai were recently sentenced to death for carrying out two gang rapes, but Yadav defended them, saying rape happens because women lead men on.
“Boys will be boys. Following a girl-boy fight, the girl complains she was raped,” he said.
Yadav has created somewhat of a name for himself by sending conflicting messages at election rallies. Shortly after defending the men from Mumbai he backtracked on his statements at another rally.
“Many people said that my comments were right. I am against rape. Rapists should be given the most severe punishment,” he said then. Innocent people should not be hanged. Rape is a debate in half the world. If I said this, it was wrong.”
Azmi is another hard-liner who believes Muslim laws should be implemented and said that women who have sex outside of marriage should be punished by death, even if they were raped.
“If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam,” Azmi said. “The solution is this: any woman, whether married or unmarried, who goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent.”
Susieben Shah, chairperson of the Maharashtra Commission for Women, said she has issued a notice for Azmi to appear in person and explain his statement.
“His statement is deplorable, irresponsible and condemnable. When you are in a position of power, you are duty-bound to protect women,” she said. “I call upon all women to come out in large number like they did in Bastar, Vidarbha, and Delhi to vote for a leader who protects women’s dignity.”