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Indian PM Modi: Rape Issue Should Not Be Politicized


India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, April 18, 2018.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed his country's rape epidemic Wednesday, asserting that rape should not be politicized and that recent sexual assaults have shamed the nation.

"This is a matter of great concern for the country, and these sinners are somebody's sons. The rape of a [daughter] is a matter of worry, a shame for the country," Modi said.

Modi's made his comments in London, where he was greeted by hundreds of vocal protesters who were demonstrating against the sexual violence that has become a national crisis, including two particularly brutal rapes that triggered nationwide protests in India.

Demonstrators carry placards demanding justice for Asifa, an 8-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in India, during a rally protesting a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in London, April 18, 2018.
Demonstrators carry placards demanding justice for Asifa, an 8-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in India, during a rally protesting a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in London, April 18, 2018.

Protesters gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. Some held placards that read "Modi go home" and "We stand against Modi's agenda of hate and greed."

Security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters who were pelting them with stones.

As Modi arrived in London on Wednesday to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, renewed violence erupted in the northern Indian state of Kashmir during a demonstration demanding justice for an eight-year-old rape victim. The victim, a Muslim girl living in a Hindu-dominated area in the Kathua district, was kidnapped, drugged and held captive for several days while being raped repeatedly before she was murdered.

Another case involved a state lawmaker from Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, who is accused of raping a teenage girl. Authorities did not take action until the victim threatened to set herself on fire earlier this month. The girl's father died a short time later from injuries he sustained while in police custody.

There were 40,000 rapes reported in India in 2016, a 60 percent increase since 2012. Nearly 40 percent of the rape victims were children.

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