M A I N   N E W S

Delhi rape horror sparks outrage
MPs for tougher laws, including death penalty; Govt to fast-track case
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 18
The government today assured Parliament that the the Delhi gangrape case would be tried on fast-track basis and action taken against police officials if lapses were found on their part.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde promised steps for ensuring safety of women as members cutting across the party lines and gender in both the Houses expressed shock, grief and outrage over the horrific incidence of gangrape , demanding fast-track courts and exemplary punishment, including death penalty, for perpetrators of rape crimes.

Addressing the Rajya Sabha, where the Question Hour could not be conducted in view of the vehement protests by members, Shinde said a special task force headed by Home Secretary would be constituted to look into suggestions made by members while a Criminal Law Amendment Bill for dealing with sexual offences had been introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill seeks to enhance punishment for such crimes, he said as members of all the parties expressed anger and concern over the repeated incidents of rape in the national capital, whose law and order comes under the Union Home Ministry. Besides, he said the police has been instructed to cover all roads by PCR vans at night and increase patrolling on specific routes used by women working in BPOs.

Women members in both the Houses were in the forefront, expressing shock and anguish over the incident.

While many members became emotional, actor-politician Jaya Bachchan broke down while speaking in the Upper House.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar led the House in expressing outrage over the “spine-chilling” incident, saying it was shameful for the entire society.

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj demanded death penalty for the accused. “We demand capital punishment for the accused who have been arrested,” she said, slamming the Centre, the Delhi Government and Delhi Police for failing to prevent such crimes.

Girija Vyas of the Congress demanded fast-track courts to deliver quick justice. Sushma got support from party colleague Najma Heptulla as well as the UPA ally DMK member Vasanthy Stanley and V Maitreyan of the AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha, who said “These culprits should be hanged”. Maitreyan urged the government to amend the law and introduce death penalty for rapists. Maya Singh of the BJP wanted the House to pass a proposal that no lawyer would plead on behalf of the perpetrators of such crimes.

M Venkaiah Naidu of the BJP said a strong political will was needed to check such “very shameful” incidents. “Condolence for the dead and compensation to survivors cannot be a policy,” he said. The comment of Renuka Chowdhary (Cong) that it was not the time to nitpick saw members of the Opposition Benches rising in protest. “It is our collective social failure,” the Congress MP said.

Sonia calls up Shinde

Following public outcry against Delhi gang rape case, Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke tough on the issue. She called up Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and NCW chairperson and asked them to take strict action to ensure that there is no recurrence of such incidents.

Shinde talks tough

It is proposed to have this case tried by a fast-track court, with a request for day-to-day hearing, so that the trial does not linger... If there are any lapses, strict action will be taken against the police officers concerned.

— Sushil Kumar Shinde, Home Minister

Jaya in tears

I am basically an artist and I’m very, very disturbed by it. What is going to happen to her? I’m ashamed. I personally feel very, very ashamed that I am sitting in this House and not being able to do anything.

— Jaya Bachchan, SP





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