Ready to make tougher laws on rape: Cen­tre

In Par­lia­ment, MPs con­demn crimes against women, de­mand death for con­victs

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - Front Page - ■ let­[email protected]­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: Putting ide­olo­gies aside, mem­bers of both houses of Par­lia­ment in uni­son con­demned the rape and mur­der of a vet­eri­nar­ian in Hy­der­abad and other such in­ci­dents in the coun­try, and de­manded swift death penalty, public lynch­ing and cas­tra­tion of rape con­victs even as the Cen­tre said it was ready to amend laws to bring in strin­gent pro­vi­sions and en­sure speedy jus­tice.

Cut­ting across party lines, MPs con­demned the re­cent spurt in crime against women and de­manded strict laws that pun­ish the guilty within a fixed time­frame, three days af­ter the charred body of the 25-year old woman, who worked as an as­sis­tant vet­eri­nar­ian at a state-run hos­pi­tal, was found un­der a cul­vert in Shad­na­gar in Hy­der­abad on Novem­ber 28. The woman was re­ported miss­ing a day ear­lier.

Four men, all lorry work­ers, aged be­tween 20 and 24, were ar­rested on Novem­ber 29 on charges of rap­ing and killing the woman and had been sent to ju­di­cial cus­tody for 14 days on Satur­day. The in­ci­dent has trig­gered na­tion­wide out­rage and protests were held at sev­eral cities, in­clud­ing the na­tional cap­i­tal and Hy­der­abad, de­mand­ing stern

pun­ish­ment to the cul­prits.

Ra­jya Sabha chair­man M Venka­iah Naidu sug­gested a re­think on al­low­ing con­victs in heinous crimes to go in for mercy ap­peals.

Speak­ing in the Up­per House, Sa­ma­jwadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan said the rapists should be “brought out in public and lynched.” Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam’s (DMK) P Wil­son said courts should be em­pow­ered to sur­gi­cally and chem­i­cally cas­trate con­victed rapists be­fore they are re­leased from jails so as to check re­peat of­fend­ers.

The cost of such pro­ce­dure should be re­cov­ered from the ac­cused by sell­ing his as­sets, he said, adding list of sex­ual of­fend­ers should also be made public.

Leader of Op­po­si­tion Ghu­lam Nabi Azad said the so­ci­ety will have to tackle this prob­lem at its root and the guilty should be given strin­gent pun­ish­ment with­out any dis­crim­i­na­tion on the ba­sis of re­li­gion or caste.

Ex­press­ing grief, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, “We in one voice” con­demn such in­ci­dents.

Re­spond­ing to a dis­cus­sion dur­ing Zero Hour in the Lower House, Union de­fence min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh said he was fall­ing short of words to con­demn the heinous crime. “We are ready for dis­cus­sions in the House so that strin­gent pro­vi­sions in laws could be ex­plored to give pun­ish­ment to those in­volved in such ghastly in­ci­dents,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) min­is­ter said the in­ci­dent has hurt ev­ery­one. He ob­served that such heinous crimes were hap­pen­ing even af­ter strict law were framed post the Nirb­haya in­ci­dent, where a young woman was gang-raped aboard a mov­ing bus in New Delhi in 2012 and prompted thou­sands of In­di­ans to take to the streets to de­mand stricter rape laws.

The out­rage spurred quick ac­tion on leg­is­la­tion dou­bling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and crim­i­nal­is­ing voyeurism, stalk­ing and the traffickin­g of women.

As one mem­ber af­ter an­other men­tioned the ghastly crime in Par­lia­ment, Union min­is­ter G Kis­han Reddy said that the govern­ment is ready to amend the In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC) and the Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure (CrPC) to en­sure swift jus­tice in cases of heinous crimes like the Hy­der­abad rape and mur­der case.

The Cen­tre had writ­ten to states and po­lice forces over the is­sue, he said, adding var­i­ous par­ties will be con­sulted.

Reddy said the govern­ment has come out with 112, an all-in­one emer­gency helpline num­ber, and has “zero tol­er­ance” against crimes against women.

As soon as the House met for the day, Speaker Om Birla said he would al­low mem­bers to raise the “se­ri­ous is­sue” in the Zero Hour.

Terming the rape of the young vet­eri­nar­ian in Hy­der­abad as “painful” and an “in­hu­man” in­ci­dent, Congress MP Ut­tam Ku­mar Reddy blamed the sale of liquor in Te­lan­gana for the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent and de­manded that fast track court should pro­nounce quick ver­dict and hang the con­victs.

TR Baalu of the DMK raised the is­sue of sex­ual as­sault on a school­girl in Coimbatore.

Those in­volved in the crime should be pun­ished, Baalu said, adding the govern­ment should come for­ward and en­sure time­bound ac­tion.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) law­maker Pi­naki Misra ques­tioned the de­lay in ex­e­cut­ing the death sen­tence awarded to con­victs in the Nirb­haya gang-rape case.

“At this hour we should speak in one voice,” he said.

Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party’s Supriya Sule said that there should be “zero tol­er­ance” to­wards such in­ci­dents. Vi­nayak Raut of the Shiv Sena also con­demned the in­ci­dent and said there was a need to bring a law in the on­go­ing ses­sion.

Dan­ish Ali (Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party) said the Te­lan­gana in­ci­dent has brought shame to the coun­try.

Nama Nageswar Rao of the Te­lan­gana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS), which is in power in Te­lan­gana, said the state govern­ment had given high­est pri­or­ity to cases of crime against women and noted that ac­cused in this case were ar­rested within six hours.

Time has come for amend­ing the IPC and CrPC pro­vi­sion suit­ably so that a judg­ment can be de­liv­ered in 30 days in such cases, he said.

Ear­lier, Ra­jya Sabha chair­man Naidu re­jected ad­journ­ment on the Hy­der­abad in­ci­dent but al­lowed mem­bers to make brief men­tions on the same and other such in­ci­dents else­where in the coun­try.

As sev­eral MPs made a case for set­ting up more fast track courts to deal with cases of sex­ual as­sault, Naidu lamented the process of “ap­peal, next ap­peal, and next ap­peal”.

“What hap­pens even af­ter pun­ish­ment is given (to con­victs). We all are wit­ness...ap­peal, mercy (pe­ti­tion)...can any­body think of hav­ing mercy on such peo­ple,” he said, ob­serv­ing this process has been fol­lowed for years.

“We should re­ally think about change in le­gal system, in our ju­di­cial system,” he said.

“This kind of vi­o­la­tion of dig­nity of women can­not go on un­chal­lenged. It should be nipped in the bud,” he said, and added that it was al­ready too late.

Naidu also sug­gested pho­to­graphs of peo­ple found guilty of crime against women should be pub­lished so that there is some so­cial stigma and fear.

“What is re­quired is not a new bill. What is re­quired is a po­lit­i­cal will, ad­min­is­tra­tive skill and then change of mind­set and go for the kill of the so­cial evil,” he said.

Rais­ing the is­sue of de­lay in po­lice ac­tion in the Hy­der­abad in­ci­dent over ju­ris­dic­tion dis­pute be­tween po­lice sta­tions, Tel­ugu De­sam Party leader Kanakameda­la Ravin­dra Ku­mar wanted cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for rapists in public.

Ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent avail­able of­fi­cial crime records, po­lice reg­is­tered 33,658 cases of rape in In­dia in 2017 — an av­er­age of more than 90 ev­ery day. But the real fig­ure is be­lieved to be far higher as many women in In­dia don’t reg­is­ter these cases in po­lice sta­tions due to fear.

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