Indian water minister Uma Bharti says she had rapists tortured

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Uma Bharti (centre) said she ordered police to torture rape suspects until they begged (AFP photo)

(BBC) An Indian minister says she made rape suspects beg for their lives and ordered police to torture them.

Uma Bharti, the water resources minister, claims she told the men’s accusers to watch as they were hung upside down.

“Rapists should be tortured in front of victims until they beg for forgiveness,” she said.

Ms Bharti made the comments while campaigning for a local politician in Agra, in Uttar Pradesh state.

She brought up an infamous case from July 2016 where a mother and her daughter were gang-raped in Bulandshahr, saying the Uttar Pradesh government had failed to give the victims justice.

“The rapists should be hung upside down and beaten till their skin comes off,” the minister is reported to have said.

“Salt and chilli should be rubbed on their wounds until they scream. Mothers and sisters should watch so they can get closure.”

Ms Bharti said that when she was chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state from 2003-4, she took the same attitude.

“I would tell the cops to hang the rapists upside down and beat them so hard that they would cry out. I would tell women to watch through windows of the police station,” she said.

She told the crowd that when a policeman objected, “I told him people who behave like ‘danav’ (demons) cannot have Manavadhikar (human rights). Their heads should be cut off like Ravana’s”. Ravana is an evil demon king in Hindu mythology.

Ms Bharti is a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and has previously made the headlines for her controversial comments.

Her torture revelations have resonated with some in India, where the most grievous rape cases sometimes attract the death penalty.

Crimes against women in India have been in the spotlight since the brutal gang-rape and murder of a student in 2012 in Delhi.

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