Indian Elections: 'Women Who Have Sex Outside Marriage Should Be Hanged And Rape Is No Big Deal,' Say Politicians

It seems that politicians in India's largest and most politically important state are currently trying to outdo each other by making the most shocking statement possible on women's rights.

Those at the head of India's Socialist Party (SP) have sparked outrage by claiming women who have sex outside of marriage should be hanged, while men who commit rape should be forgiven their "mistakes".

At an election rally on Thursday, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the head of SP, reportedly said that if he became prime minister he would scrap a recently introduced law that fixed the death penalty for rapists, because it is "unfair."

Yadav claimed men should not face the death penalty as it was not uncommon "for boys to make mistakes".

"Boys will be boys. Following a girl-boy fight, the girl complains she was raped," he apparently said in the city of Moradabad.

Newspapers and websites have slammed Yadav for his comments, which came on a day India was voting in the third phase of the general election.

"Mulayam Singh Yadav sinks to a new low, defends rapists to woo voters," said The Times of India website.

"We sincerely hope and pray that his idiotic comments today fell on deaf ears and the voters have a better sense of judgment," the paper added.

To make matters dramatically worse, when another senior leader of the part was questioned on the comments, he appeared to suggest that women who were raped should also be hanged, along with the rapist.

Questioned by the NDTV news channel about Yadav's comments, Abu Azmi said: "Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty."

When the reporter questioned him further, he replied: "Any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn't be allowed even if a woman goes by consent."