A FEMALE Indian politician has said rape victims may have invited attacks by their clothes and behaviour, fuelling a national debate over a series of incidents of sexual violence against women.

Asha Mirje, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in western Maharashtra state, questioned why a 23-year-old physiotherapy student gang-raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012 was out late at night.

The student died of her injuries and thousands of people took to the streets in protests against the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in India.

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A number of shocking incidents have since been highlighted in Indian media, most recently the case of 20-year-old woman who said she was gang-raped in West Bengal in eastern India on the orders of a village court last week.

Ms Mirje, a member of the state women's commission, said in reference to the Delhi assault: "Did (the woman) really have go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend?

"Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behaviour and her presence at inappropriate places."