On the day five men appeared in court charged with the rape and murder of an Indian student, controversial remarks by a spiritual leader have fanned the flames of outrage over the tragedy.
Many have been angered by the much followed Asaram Bapu after he suggested the 23-year-old victim bore responsibility for her attack on board a Delhi bus. He also voiced opposition to any new laws to protect woman saying rape charges could always be fabricated.
Meanwhile the five accused of the brutal gang rape were formally charged with kidnapping, rape and murder, a sixth – a teenager – will later appear before a juvenile court.
So far no defence team has been appointed, however two lawyers have finally offered to represent the men. With anger simmering against the suspects most in the district had refused to help with their defence, in fact hundreds of lawyers staged their own protest outside the court.
The next hearing is set for later this week.
The case has sharpened long-standing anger against the government, police and India’s judicial system for a perceived failure to protect women.