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Indian minister says rapes happen ‘accidentally’ Renewed outrage over attacks against women

NEW DELHI, June 8, (AFP): A minister from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party has said rapes happen “accidentally” in the latest controversial remarks by a politician, amid renewed outrage over attacks against women.

Ramsevak Paikra, the home minister of central Chhattisgarh state who is responsible for law and order, said late on Saturday that rapes did not happen on purpose. “Such incidents (rapes) do not happen deliberately. These kind of incidents happen accidentally,” Paikra, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which also rules at the national level, told reporters.

Paikra, who was asked for his thoughts on the gang-rape and lynching of two girls in a neighbouring state, later said he had been misquoted. His original remarks were broadcast on television networks. The remarks come just days after the home minister of the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh state said rapes were “sometimes right, sometimes wrong”.

The minister, Babulal Gaur, gave the remarks on Thursday amid growing anger over the gang-rape and murder of the girls, aged 12 and 14, in northern Uttar Pradesh state late last month. Modi, whose party came to power in a landslide election victory and has pledged increased women’s security, has so far stayed silent over the rapes. India brought in tougher laws last year against sexual offenders after the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, but they have failed to stem the tide of violence against women across the country.

Police said a Malaysian woman, 30, was raped in a car last Thursday in the western state of Rajasthan after a man, whom she had met to discuss business projects, drugged her — the latest in a series of sex attacks on foreigners in India. “As she came to us, we rounded up the accused and placed him under arrest. We have seized his car and also recovered a pistol from the vehicle,” Amandeep Singh, a senior state police official, told AFP on Sunday.

Earlier this year, a Danish tourist was gang-raped at knifepoint after losing her way in central Delhi. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has faced severe criticism for his perceived insensitivity over the attacks on the low-caste girls in his state, who were found hanging from a mango tree after being sexually assaulted multiple times.

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