Manohar Lal Sharma – is this the most disreputable lawyer in India?
The lawyer representing three of the men charged with the gang rape and murder of a medical student aboard a moving bus in New Delhi has blamed the victims for the assault, saying he has never heard of a “respected lady” being raped in India.
Manohar Lal Sharma’s comments come as Indians have reacted with outrage to the opinions of politicians and a religious preacher who have accused westernized women of inviting sexual assaults. Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23- year-old was “wholly responsible” for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.
“Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” Sharma said in an interview at a cafe outside the Supreme Court in India’s capital. “Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”
Sharma’s comments highlight frequently aired attitudes toward women in India. Activists say reporting of sex crimes and police investigations of rape are hindered by a tendency to blame the victim for not following the traditional, conservative social roles ascribed to women.
“This is the mentality which most Indian men are suffering from unfortunately,” said Ranjana Kumari, director for the New Delhi-based Centre for Social Research. “That is the mindset that has been perpetrating this crime because they justify it indirectly, you asked for it so it is your responsibility.”
A spiritual guru, Asharam, sparked an outcry earlier this week when he said the New Delhi victim was equally responsible and should have “chanted God’s name and fallen at the feet of the attackers” to stop the assault.
Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the pro-Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that underpins the country’s main opposition political party, said rapes only occur in Indian cities, not in its villages, because women there adopt western lifestyles…
The defendants were brought into court today protected by more than 20 police for a brief hearing. Sharma said the court was adjourned after he had filed an application requesting the charge sheet be given to the men in Hindi rather than English…
The gang rape of the woman on Dec. 16 provoked a sustained and charged debate about the safety of women in the world’s biggest democracy. The brutality of the crime and allegations by the male friend of the victim that it took police 45 minutes to respond to calls outraged the nation.
Advocates for the worst of reactionary culture in India, gurus like Asharom, scumbag lawyers like Manohar Lal Sharma are engaged in a race to the very bottom of a backwards lifestyle. It is absurd to call India a democracy when the safety of women has no guarantee from the police or the state. Half the population has no rights.
The government says it is investigating ways and means of speeding justice for women. I’d be amazed if this pursuit has anymore effect than the annual pantomime investigations of corruption – which lead only to changing partners in the dance of deceit in Indian politics.