Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav has stated that it is "unfair" to sentence rapists to death, inviting the wrath of women groups and feminists. He termed the crime as "mistake."
Yadav was addressing an election rally in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh on 10 April 2014.
Referring to the death punishment awarded by a Mumbai court to convicts of Shakti Mills gang-rape case, he further said that if his party comes to power at the Centre, he will bring changes to the Union government's amended new anti-rape law, implying that death punishment is very harsh for a crime of rape.
Questioning the need for death punishment to the convicts in the Shakti Mills case, Yadav said: "Will the rapists be hanged now? Boys are boys. They will make mistakes," IBN Live reported.
He also said that he is for a severe action against women who make false charges of rape upon their relationship turning sour.
Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, Prinicipal Sessions Judge, Mumbai, drew a parallel between the Mumbai's Shakti Mills case and Delhi's Nirbhaya gang rape case, in which the victim died, despite the government's decision to treat her in Singapore.
"Social abhorrence and the national shock created by this incident was just parallel to the one evoked by Nirbhaya incident in Delhi. In that case the victim was not left alive. In this case, the victim is left alive but society is yet to recover from the aftermath of the shock," The Hindu quoted Joshi.
Though the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Yadav's son, Akhilesh did not back his father's arguments, he merely opted not to comment on the matter. He said he does not know in what context Yadav had made the remarks.
But, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy rapped Singh and said, "Mulayam Singh Yadav should think before he speaks. He wants to play minority politics over rape case."
Angrily reacting to the SP chief's comments on the matter, actress Malavika Avinash tweeted, "Rape, a mistake??? Welcome to the world of Mulayam Yadav."