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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 May, 2005, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Woman rejects rapist marriage bid
The rape victim (L) and her lawyer
The rape victim (L), with her lawyer, was appalled at the offer
An Indian woman who was raped has rejected a marriage proposal from the rapist, calling the idea "horrible".

She had been asked in court whether she would accept the proposal from her attacker who had hoped it might lower his sentence.

The convicted rapist said he was offering to marry the woman because the stigma of rape in India meant no one else would.

Following the rejection, the court sentenced the rapist to life in prison.

Women's groups expressed disgust at the request and disappointment that the court had allowed the petition to be made.

The man was convicted last month of raping and seriously injuring the 22-year-old nurse in September 2003 at the hospital where they both worked.

I will not marry him. It is horrible, audacious... he should be given the severest punishment
Rape victim

Minutes before sentencing was due on Tuesday, the man issued his marriage proposal.

The judge postponed sentencing until Wednesday, when the rape victim told the court she had rejected the petition.

She told reporters: "I will not marry him. It is horrible, audacious... he should be given the severest punishment.

"He should be hanged so that such a horrendous act is not repeated with any other girl."

She said the man had been found guilty and was now trying to save himself with a bogus proposal.

Appeal planned

Brinda Karat, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association, said the request and the actions of the court were highly objectionable and demeaning to the victim.

She said it could set a dangerous precedent.

The man was arrested after the rape in a bathroom of one of the private rooms in the hospital.

The woman suffered a gouged eye and facial scarring, for which she has undergone surgery four times.

The man's lawyers said he was planning to appeal to a higher court against his conviction.

Delhi witnessed more than 300 sexual assaults in 2004, but women's groups say there are many more because victims fear social discrimination if they admit they have been raped.

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