Gang-rape protests: BJP to urge Pranab to call Special Session of Parliament

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 24, 2012 11:22 hrs

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is livid with the Congress-led UPA Government's handling of the ongoing protests against the brutal gang-rape incident, will be meeting President Pranab Mukherjee and request him to convene a Special Session of Parliament so that the Centre urgently amends the criminal laws to provide harsh punishments for extreme cases of crimes against the feminine gender.

"So, we thought here today that since the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have rejected to our demands. We are asking for time from the President and our delegation will meet him and request him that he should call a Special Session of Parliament and instruct the government to come up with a legislation to make the laws more harsh. If the government does not take this step, then the public outcry will increase," senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj told mediapersons here after the BJP Core Group meeting.

Swaraj said the BJP leaders discussed and analysed the recent public outcry in the country against the rise in crimes against women.

"We had raised this issue in both Houses of Parliament vigorously, but we regret that there has been no satisfactory reply from the government's side. When people came out on the streets to vent their ire, then we put forward two suggestions to this government. The first suggestion from my side was made to the Prime Minister that he should convene a Special Session of Parliament and amend the existing law to make it stronger. The second suggestion I made to the Home Minister yesterday that an all-party meeting should be called so that entire political class discusses this issue and comes forward with a satisfactory answer," said Swaraj.

"We regret to say both our suggestions have been rejected. If the government does not want to provide answers in Parliament, does not want to take the Parliament into confidence, does not want to call an all-party meeting, does not want to talk to the protestors then what does it want. The BJP rejects the government's move to control the situation with the help of police baton-charge," she added.

Swaraj, who is the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, compared the police crackdown on the protestors at the India Gate here yesterday with the situation prevailing in the country during the 1975 emergency.

"There were a lot of movements during the time of emergency. People were also beaten up during the movements. But the vandalism that took place at the India Gate yesterday in particular with the women where there was use of tear gas and water canons against them," said Swaraj.

"They were also baton-charged, the girls were baton-charged by male police personnel and not by the female police personnel. 80 kids were yesterday admitted to the RML (Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital). So, they (UPA Government) have crossed the limits of emergency also," she added.

Over the weekend, the police clashed repeatedly with thousands of demonstrators, many of them students, who defied a ban to gather at the India Gate here demanding justice for the 23-year-old gang-rape victim.

The irate protestors demanded that laws be amended to provide the death penalty for rapists and also asked for better policing on the streets of the national capital at nights so that the feminine gender feels safe.

The Prime Minister earlier this morning expressed sadness at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and the police forces here yesterday, and appealed to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm.

"My fellow citizens, there is genuine and justified anger and anguish at the ghastly crime of gang-rape committed last Sunday in Delhi. As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife and family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime," said Dr. Singh in his televised statement this morning.

"We are constantly monitoring her medical condition. Let us all pray for her and her loved ones during this critical time. I feel deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces," he added.

Dr. Singh said 'anger at this crime is justified, but violence will serve no purpose'.

The Central Government, which has under sharp criticism following the widespread public fury over the brutal gang-rape, has decided to constitute a committee of eminent jurists to have a re-look at the existing rape laws.

The condition of the 23-year-old girl, who is presently being treated at the Safdarjung Hospital here, continues to be critical. 

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