Spiritual leader Asaram Bapu on Tuesday called those criticising him over his remarks on Delhi gangrape victim as 'barking dogs'.
"First one dog started barking. Then another dog started barking. And then all dogs started barking. If the elephant runs after dogs, then their value increases and the elephant's decreases. Why will I run after them?" Bapu said while addressing his supporters.
Bapu on Monday triggered a controversy as he said the Delhi gangrape victim was ´as guilty´ as the accused in the crime.
He said: "The victim daughter was as guilty as her rapists."
"She should have taken the name of God and called the culprits brothers. She should have begged before them to stop.. This could have saved her dignity and life," he said.
"Can one hand clap? I don´t think so," Bapu said.
Bapu reportedly said he was against harsher punishments for the culprits as the law could be ´misutilised´.
Political parties criticised the spiritual leader for his comments against the victim.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters: "I will like to say that political leaders including religious leaders must give serious thought before they speak out."
India´s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also condemned the spiritual leader´s remarks.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters: "The remarks are regrettable, deeply disturbing and painful."
"We will urge Asaram Bapu to withdraw the comments," he said.
BJP leader Balbir Punj told media, "I would say the man of this stature made a very childish suggestion. It not only need to be condemned but one should laugh at it also."
On Dec 16, the six raped and brutalised the 23-year-old medical student with an iron rod on a moving bus.
The victim succumbed to her injuries at a Singapore hospital on Dec 29.
The incident triggered nationwide outrage against rising cases of rape and brutalization of women in India with people pouring into the streets of New Delhi for days and demanding a change of law and strict punishment of the accused.