India rape
Indian students of Saint Joseph Degree college participate in an anti-rape protest in HyderabadGetty

A member of India's legislative assembly has said rapes have taken place in the past and are bound to happen in the future - the latest in a bizarre series of remarks from Indian lawmakers regarding sexual assaults on women.

"Rapes were committed earlier, rapes are being committed now. As long as the world exists, rape would go on," said Deepak Haldar, a senior leader of the Trinamool Congrest Party in West Bengal, India, addressing a gathering of supporters.

However, he later attempted to clarify by pleading: "Please let the journalists not take these comments out of context. Why did I say this? We don't support rape...I said this because it is a social evil.

"It is not possible for Mamata Banerjee [West Bengal' chief minister] alone to solve it. It is not possible for me or anyone of us alone... all of you must take a collective decision and where such incidents happen, you must protest."

Despite condemnation of Haldar's remarks by rights and women's groups, the party chief Banerjee has said she stands by him over the remarks.

"A section is trying to malign us, but you cannot deter us by spreading canards. When a mad dog bites you suffer from rabies and that has what has happened to the opposition," Banergee said, blaming the opposition parties and the media for drumming up the matter.

Earlier another senior politician from the same party, Tapas Pal, said: "If the [opposition] people touch a hair on the head of my workers, I will set loose my boys on their women to rape them."