In an interview from jail, Mukesh Singh says women who go out at night have only themselves to blame if they attract the attention of gangs of male molesters
One of the group of Indian men convicted of the notorious Delhi gang rape of 2012 has prompted outrage by claiming that his victim was to blame for her brutal sexual assault and murder.
In an interview from jail, Mukesh Singh said that women who went out at night had only themselves to blame if they attracted the attention of gangs of male molesters. “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” he said.
His victim, Jyoti Singh, 23, was returning from an evening at the cinema with a male friend when the six-strong gang offered them a lift in a mini-bus they were driving. She was raped and frenziedly beaten with iron bars, prompting widespread demonstrations for Indian women to have greater protection from sexual violence.
In an interview for a BBC documentary, Singh also claimed that had Jyoti and her friend not tried to fight back, the gang would not have not have inflicted the savage beating, which led her to die from her injuries two weeks later.
Describing the killing as an “accident”, he said: “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”
The interview, which BBC Four will air on its Storyville programme to coincide with International Womens’ Day this Sunday, will be seen by women’s rights groups as compelling evidence of the appalling attitudes shown by many Indian men towards women.
While the Indian courts made a harsh example of the gang, passing death sentences that are now otherwise rarely used, campaigners say that otherwise not enough has changed.
Singh, a slum-dweller who was 26 at the time of the attack, was driving the bus when the abduction occurred.
He denied involvement in the attack itself, but his claims were rejected by the court, which said there was strong DNA evidence against him, and that even if he had not taken part, he should have intervened.
But while the judge said that the case had “shocked the collective conscience” of India, Singh appears to show little remorse.
“You can’t clap with one hand – it takes two hands,” he says in the interview. “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”
Singh, whose death sentence is currently on appeal, also claims that executing him and the other convicted rapists will endanger future rape victims.
“The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls,” he says. “Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”
The lawyers who defended the gang in court express similarly extreme views about women who venture out at night. In a previous televised interview, lawyer AP Singh said: “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.”
In the BBC documentary, he adds that his stance has not changed: “This is my stand. I still today stand on that reply.”
Another defence lawyer who acted in the case, ML Sharma, says: “In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7.30 or 8.30 in the evening with any unknown person.”