An Indian official has resigned after she and another women’s rights advocate were pictured taking a smiling selfie with a rape victim.
First emerging on the phone messaging service WhatsApp, the pictures were taken when members of the Rajasthan Commission for Women met the victim at a police station on Wednesday.
The woman had reported that she had been raped by her husband and two other relatives who also allegedly tattooed profanities on her forehead and hand for failing to produce a dowry of Rs 51,000, about $755.
Somya Gurjar, who has since quit her position with the National Council For Women, was seen smiling as she snapped the selfie.
In the images, Gurjar is seen holding a tablet, with commission chairperson Suman Sharma holding the victim’s hand – as if trying to showcase her tattooed arm in the picture.
Gurjar said the victim was “curious” about the camera and that the selfie was an attempt to “relax and normalize” her. “She said take my photo also. I only took her photo to put her at ease and because she asked for it. I was trying to be humane with her”.
But the images of the selfie taking triggered a wave of outrage on social media, especially as it is illegal in India to publish information that leads to the identification of rape victims.