Rapes 'accidental', Indian politician declares
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 Chhattisgarh state who is responsible for law and order, said that rapes did not happen on purpose.
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 BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh state said rapes were "sometimes right, sometimes wrong". Babulal Gaur made the remarks on Thursday amid growing anger over the gang-rape and murder of the girls, aged 12 and 14, in 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 - the latest in a series of sex attacks on foreigners in India.
This year, a Danish tourist was gang-raped 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.
Several politicians have sought to blame tight jeans, short skirts and other Western influences for the country's rise in rapes, while the head of a village council pointed to chow mein, which he claimed led to hormone imbalances among men.