India is reeling after four women were raped and hung from trees in Uttar Pradesh in a period of less than a month.

The crimes have sparked global outrage, exacerbated by the large scale of impunity that the Indian government routinely concedes to rapists.

Recent comments by prominent politicians are clear signals that for many Indians rape is not a crime, but something forgivable, even understandable.

Those in power seem to give very little importance to such crimes, and authorities often fail to prosecute rapists.

General Secretary of Muslims Facing Tomorrow and sharia law expert Hasan Mahmud told IB Times UK: "There are social crimes committed by local powerful criminals.

"Unfortunately, the political power in the capital depends on local 'muscle' who are the rapists - so the government hardly can or does punish the criminals," Mahmud continued.

"Because rape is committed by powerful local supporters of the government, if the government punish their supporters at a local level, then the opponents will win."

Rape in India is widespread

Rape in India a common occurrence often committed within an insular culture: according to the National Crime Records Bureau, 25,000 rape cases were reported in 2012, of which 24,470 were committed by a relative or neighbour.

The latest atrocities in Uttar Pradesh follow the case of a woman raped and burned with acid in an alleged attempt to disguise her identity.

Last February, two senior Congress members admitted to raping and killing a woman and throwing her body in a pond.

In the same month, a nine-year-old was rushed to hospital after being brutally raped.

Before that, the world was shocked again by the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl who died shortly after.

There are thousands of women who are raped, tortured and killed in India on a daily basis, and whose stories fail to reach international media.

Sexual violence of all manner is sadly rampant in India - a country where women victims of rape were subjected to the two-finger test until the government banned it a few months ago, and where forced marital intercourse is not considered as sexual violence.