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Spiritual Guru Blames Delhi Rape Victim While Attackers Appear in Court

The controversy and passions surrounding the New Delhi gang-rape case are still smoldering. And Hindu spiritual guru Asaram Bapu is adding to the fire with comments suggesting the 23-year-old victim was partly responsible.

“The victim daughter is as guilty as her rapists,” the 71-year-old leader told his followers, according to Indian media. “She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop.” Groups from all political spectrums immediately condemned the comments.

The five men accused of brutally attacking the woman appeared in court Monday facing charges including rape, kidnapping, and murder. The victim died 13 days after the Dec. 16 assault.

Amid the firestorm throughout India, the court decided to close the proceedings to the media. If convicted, the five men could face the death penalty.