Pictures have emerged of a leading Indian politician being beaten by villagers after allegedly raping a woman in her home at 2am.
Congressman for Assam’s ruling party Congress, Bikram Singh Brahma, allegedly raped a woman at Santipura village in lower Assam’s Chirang district before being caught by villagers today.
It is another shocking sex crime against a woman in a country that is trying to come to terms with the gang rape and death of a 23-year-old student last week, for which six men currently face trial.
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‘People raised an alarm late last night after Congress leader Bikram Singh Brahma allegedly raped a woman,’ Chirang Superintendent of Police Kumar Sanjeev Krishna told the Deccan Chronicle.
He is said to have been visiting the village of Santipur on the Bhutan border when he entered a woman’s house and raped her.
Brahma, who is the Baksa district Congress Committee chairman and Congress coordinator of Bodoland Territorial Council, was then beaten up by men and women who ripped his clothes off.
He was later handed over to the police who arrested him,Superintendent Krishna said.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, said anyone found guilty of the heinous crime ‘would not be spared, whether he is Congressman or not.’
‘It is the most condemnable act. Anyone who commits rape or attempts it should be given stringent punishment,’ he said, adding his government has been strict in handling such cases like the Guawahati molestation incident.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh said if Brahma is found guilty he will be expelled from the party.
Meanwhile, a group of Indian men accused of gang raping a 23-year-old woman were today kept away from court amid fears of mob violence.
Five people have been formally charged over the rape and murder of the physiotherapy student, including a youth who is alleged to have ripped out the victim’s intestines.
According to The Hindustan Times a charge sheet said the youngest of the attackers pulled her organs out with his hands then raped her twice, once when she was unconscious.
The newspaper also reported that he was responsible for suggesting she was thrown naked from the bus.
Today her father called for the hanging of those responsible for the attack saying ‘the death penalty is compulsory for a crime so great.’
The trial will be held in a fast track court and will start on Saturday.
‘Of all the persons in the bus, two had engaged in the most barbarism — Ram Singh, the main accused in the case, and the juvenile ‘ said an officer according to the paper.
‘Both of them had subjected her to sexual abuse twice. Singh was the first to rape her followed by the juvenile and then Akshay. Later, when she lost consciousness, Singh and the juvenile raped her a second time.’
Police planned to ask for the death penalty in the case. The men – the bus driver, his brother and four of their friends – are residents of a south Delhi slum near the site of the attack.
Indian Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said the accused should be tried swiftly, but cautioned that they needed to be given a fair trial and not subjected to mob justice.
‘Let us not lose sight of the fact that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty,’ he said yesterday, while inaugurating the new fast-track court.
Sanjay Kumar, a lawyer and a member of the Saket District Bar Council said that 2,500 advocates registered at the court had decided to stay away to ensure ‘speedy justice’.
‘We have decided that no lawyer will stand up to defend the rape accused as it would be immoral to defend the case,’ he said to AFP.
The government is to set up four other such courts in the capital to hold timely trials in sexual assault cases, which often get bogged down for years in India’s notoriously sluggish court system.
Women’s activists hope the rape and killing of the university student on December 16 will mark a turning point in India’s behaviour towards women.
The father of the physiotherapy student paid tribute to his ‘fiercely determined’ daughter in his first interview since the attack happened.
He said: ‘She was very adamant about whatever she wanted.
‘When we used to stop at a sweetshop on the way to school she was adamant about wanting a sweet and even the shopkeeper had to relent.
‘It was the same in high school. She wanted to be a doctor and said it was only a matter of a few years and that when she was a doctor (all our suffering) it will end.’
‘I remember asking her once, who are all your friends? She replied, Dad it’s only my books I am friends with.’
Her father moved the family to Delhi from a rural part of India in order to improve her chances of realising her ambition of a career in medicine.
The dream was cut short on December 16 when she was attacked by six men after as she caught the bus home after going to the cinema to watch The Life of Pi. She died from her injuries on Friday.
Fresh details of the case have emerged in the Indian press where it is reported that her attackers tried to throw her under the bus after raping her inside it.
Speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Indira Jaising, the Additional Solicitor General of India, denied that rape is solely an Indian problem – but admitted that the conviction rate in the country was low.
A protester at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The crowds chanted slogans against the government for its perceived inaction in preventing cases of rape and being unable to better protect women in the capital
‘What we’re complaining about is the process is too slow, the conviction rate is low.’
She said that all too often it was the victim who was scrutinized and questioned, rather than the accused – and took a swipe at America, recalling the comments of Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican who said women’s bodies could ‘shut down’ to prevent a rape.
‘You see the blame game, blaming the witness, finding out did she invite the rape. In the US, they’ve distinguished between legitimate rape and rape.
‘Universally there’s a stigma for bringing a rape case to court. There are families who would discourage their daughters going to court.’
In a show of solidarity with the victim, thousands of Indian women and men took part in the biggest protest yet since they started following the student’s death last week.
The protesters carried pro-women slogans to the Mahatma Gandhi memorial, Rajghat, in New Delhi, yesterday morning.
The event was organized by the Delhi Government, Delhi Commission for Women to pay homage to the 23 year old Delhi gang-rape victim and for women safety.
On Monday Indian police arrested a man who tried to blow up the house belonging to the driver of a Delhi bus, as lawyers refuse to defend the accused rapists.
He was found with two homemade bombs outside the house of bus driver Ram Singh in south Delhi’s RK Puram area. Two other men escaped arrest.
It comes as the Indian government proposed to name a revised anti-rape law after the victim, a move her family referred to as an ‘honour’.