India: BJP politician who called Muslim woman's rapists 'cultured' re-elected to Gujarat parliament

India: BJP politician who called Muslim woman's rapists 'cultured' re-elected to Gujarat parliament
Chandrasin Raulji, a BJP politician who had referred to convicted rapists as 'cultured' upper-caste people, has been re-elected as a state legislator in the Indian state of Gujarat.
2 min read
09 December, 2022
Eleven men sentenced to life imprisonment for rape were released earlier this year [Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

An Indian lawmaker who commented that the men who raped a Muslim woman were 'sanskaari' (cultured or well-mannered) has been re-elected to the local parliament of Gujarat, a state in western India. 

Chandrasin Raulji, who belongs to Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won his seat in the Godhra constituency. 

He is a six-time legislator from the constituency. 

A horrific anti-Muslim pogrom took place in Gujarat - the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi - in 2002 in which 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. 

Raulji was on the committee that controversially released 11 men sentenced to life imprisonment for raping Bilkis Banu and murdering her family during the pogrom. 

They were freed on 15 August 2022, India’s Independence Day, and were greeted upon their release from jail with sweets and garlands. 

Raulji defended the decision to release the men a few days later, saying to a reporter: "They were Brahmins (upper-caste Hindus) and Brahmins are known to have good sanskaar (culture). It might have been someone's ill intention to corner and punish them."

Their release had been sanctioned by Modi's government in New Delhi. 

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The BJP has recorded a landslide victory in Gujarat, winning 156 seats in the 182-member state parliament – partly due to the popularity of Narendra Modi, who remains a larger-than-life figure in his home state.

The party has repeatedly been accused of fomenting hatred against India’s Muslims, and of actively or tacitly supporting violence against the country’s minority Muslim and Christian communities.