Manohar Lal Sharma said his clients would plead not guilty to all charges at their next court appearance. Mr Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23-year-old was ''wholly responsible'' for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.
''This is the mentality which most Indian men are suffering from unfortunately,'' said Ranjana Kumari, the director of the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research. ''That is the mindset that has been perpetrating this crime because they justify it indirectly, you asked for it so it is your responsibility.''
A spiritual guru, Asharam, sparked an outcry this week when he said the victim was equally responsible and should have ''chanted God's name and fallen at the feet of the attackers'' to stop the assault. Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which underpins the country's main opposition political party, the BJP, said rapes occurred in Indian cities only, not in its villages, because women there adopted Western lifestyles.