Amid nationwide outrage over crimes against women, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government has said that "not even Lord Ram" could assure complete security to people.
"When there is a society, then to say 100 per cent there will be no crime - this assurance I do not think even lord Ram could give. So a 100 per cent surety is not there but this much is sure if there is a crime, then the accused will go to jail and he will be punished," Ranvendra Pratap Singh, the food and civil supplies minister, said.
Mr Singh's comment came in response to a question on women's safety on a day a 23-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district, who had filed a rape case against two men from her village in March, was set on fire this morning when she was headed to a local court for hearing in the rape case. She remains in critical condition.
"As per victim's statement five people were involved in setting her on fire, including the one who was accused in the rape case," Vikrant Vir, a police superintendent in Unnao, said. All five men have been detained, Uttar Pradesh police said in a tweet.
The woman had filed a complaint with Unnao police in March alleging that she had been raped at gun-point on December 12, 2018. Having been subsequently jailed, the alleged rapist was released last week after securing bail.
During the past week, thousands protested in several cities following the rape and murder of a 26-year-old vet near Hyderabad.
Protesters and parliamentarians are pressing for courts to fast-track rape cases and demanding tougher penalties.
Uttar Pradesh is the country's most populous state and has become notorious for its poor record regarding crimes against women, with more than 4,200 cases of rape reported there in 2017 - the highest in the country.
The Uttar Pradesh state government came under fire in July from the opposition which accused it of protecting a lawmaker accused of rape.