Delhi rape stalls Parliament
New Delhi, April 22
As Parliament met after a month-long recess, the members were particularly agitated over the brutal rape of a five-year-old girl in the national capital last week and demanded death penalty for rapists.
Despite an impassioned plea by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to members to let Parliament function, the members repeatedly rushed into the well of the two Houses, leading to the adjournment of the Lok Sabha thrice and the Rajya Sabha twice.
Amid the din, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde made a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha on the gang rape in Delhi, saying an inquiry has been ordered into the lapses on the part of police to investigate her disappearance and the attempt to hush up the matter.
Giving details of the April 15 incident, Shinde said a Medico Legal Case (MLC) examination confirmed sexual assault of the brutal kind on the minor girl. A departmental enquiry shall be conducted by an officer to be appointed by the Delhi Government. The SHO and the Investigating Officer have been placed under suspension. The Joint CP (Vigilance) has been asked to conduct the enquiry. He would enquire into the allegation regarding payment of money to the father of the victim to hush up the case. Medical examination of the accused has also been conducted and sent for DNA testing.
Just before the start of the session, the PM told the media outside Parliament: “This is a very important part of the session of Parliament. It is my sincere wish that the House should be allowed to function. If there are any concerns of the Opposition, we are willing to debate all those issues which worry the Opposition.”
But the Prime Minister’s appeal went unheeded. As soon as the Lower House met, the Trinamool Congress, the Left and the some of the BJP members trooped into the well, raising their respective issues.
The TMC protested against the Left-led Students Federation of India activists who allegedly heckled Mamata Banerjee in Delhi recently when she was on a visit to the Planning Commission. The TMC member carried placards which read “Delhi is not safe saying”.
Not to be outdone, the Left carried placards saying, “It was state sponsored terrorism in West Bengal”.
A small group of BJP members were also in the well seeking the resignation of the Home Minister. They also raised slogans against rapes across the country and demanded action against the perpetrators.
The Upper House, meanwhile, took up a short duration discussion on the increasing crime against women and girl child in the backdrop of last week’s rape incident in the capital. Participating in the discussion, members were unanimous in demanding death penalty for rapists to reflect the nation’s determination to check increasing crimes against women.
Cutting across party lines, the members asked the government to immediately convene an all-party meeting to evolve a consensus on making the new anti-rape law more stringent. Some of the members even suggested that vulgarity and obscenity in the media, television and films should be banned. The Home Minister will reply to the debate which was inconclusive tomorrow.
2nd accused held, confesses to crime
New Delhi, April 22
Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar while addressing a press conference today said the youth identified as Pradeep (19) was caught from the Lakhisarai district in Bihar. “Pradeep has confessed to the crime,” said the Commissioner. He is being brought to Delhi from Patna.
The police has added gangrape charge to the case. Investigators will ascertain the roles of Pradeep and Manoj in the case. Manoj (22) was arrested on Saturday.
The two arrests were made following a massive public uproar against police inaction and the outrage thereafter. Several women groups and students demanded the police commissioner’s resignation while marching towards Parliament. The protests led to a traffic gridlock at the main ITO thoroughfare and around Parliament.
“Sensitivity is fading away from our society, while the police and the government are sleeping. It is time to wake them up,” said Rashpal Kaur, Delhi secretary of National Federation of Indian Women.
Kavita Krishnan of All India Progressive Women’s Association said, “It is not a minor lapse but something that has caused grievous injuries to a child. The Commissioner can not escape his responsibility.”
However, Kumar was quick to retort when he was questioned by reporters if he would resign. “If you commit a mistake in reporting, does your editor resign? If my resignation will prevent such depraved actions, then I will resign a thousand times,” said Kumar.
At AIIMS, the five-year-old child has started talking to her parents. “The child is recovering and we have put her on liquid and semi-solid diet. Yesterday, we carried out another dressing of her wounds. After a couple of reconstructive surgeries, she may be discharged in about two weeks,” said AIIMS MS Dr DK Sharma.
Pradeep along with his Manoj allegedly kidnapped the victim on April 15 and then raped and tortured her. Kumar said he has suspended three police officers, including Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Bani Singh Ahlawat, who had allegedly slapped a woman protestor. The Commissioner also said if the protestor lodged a complaint against the ACP, the police could consider registering a case.
“We (police) came to know prima facie that Station House Officer of Gandhi Nagar (Inspector Dharam Pal Singh) and the investigation officer (sub-inspector Mahavir Singh) did not react adequately. They had not responded as much as they should have,” said the police Commissioner.