Name new anti-rape law after gang-rape victim: Tharoor

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 16:48 hrs

New Delhi: Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday suggested that the revised anti-rape law should be named after the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim who died on Saturday.

In a comment on micro-blogging site Twitter, Tharoor said her name should be used and she should be honoured, if her parents did not object to it.

"Wondering what interest is served by continuing anonymity of #DelhiGangRape victim. Why not name & honour her as a real person with her own identity?" Tharoor tweeted.

"Unless her parents object, she should be honoured & the revised anti-rape law should be named after her. She was a human being with a name, not just a symbol," he said.

As per law, names of victims of rape or molestation should not to be revealed.

The 23-year-old woman, who was raped and brutally assaulted Dec 16, 2012, has been given several pseudo names by the media and protesters including 'Damini', 'Nirbhaya' and 'Amanat'.

Activists and politicians have demanded amendment to anti-rape law to ensure speedy justice and tougher punishment for criminals.

Tharoor tweet evokes mixed response

There was a mixed response on Tuesday to Tharoor's tweet.

Responding to Tharoor's tweet, former IPS officer, and now social and civil rights activist, Kiran Bedi welcomed the suggestion.

Bedi said: "What Tharoor has said, may be unique in India, but it is not new in the world. Many of the American laws, like the Megan Law, the Jessica Law and the Brady Law have been so named to perpetuate the memory and suffering of the victims, and also to remember the spirit behind the law. I would support Tharoor's suggestion, as it is a good idea.

Bedi further said: "As far as this case is concern, we have already calling her Nirbhaya. If her parents don't allow the name to be known, we can call it the Nirbhya Law. But if they do allow, I think the law should be named in her memory out of deep respect."

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said: "I don't want to go in the debate what someone has said or has not said. The real tribute to our sister, who lost her life, would be to update our laws, to make them more stringent and to ensure our judicial processes deliver verdicts as speedily as possible."

BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said naming the victim would be a wrong step and would contravene court orders. He said that as a government minister, Tharoor should not be making such an irresponsible demand in his public or private capacity.

He said the BJP does not agree with Tharoor, and added that there were court orders in this regard.

Under the law, the identity of a rape victim cannot be disclosed and printing or publishing the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom rape is committed is an offence under section 228-A of Indian Penal Code.

His comments come close on the heels of Delhi Police registering a case against an English daily for publishing material that could lead to the identification of the victim.

Tharoor's comments sparked instant reactions on Twitter with people supporting and questioning his suggestions.

"Why are you after creating honours, idols and temples again instead of making real changes to criminal justice system?" Chirdeep, one of the users, asked.

Anil Wanvari, however, wrote: "A good suggestion. This is exactly what I had recommended four days ago. Cheers!"

Ashoke Pandit said: "Shashi Tharoor as a minister should stop tweeting. He is always a disaster and creates a problem for himself. Now he wants the rape victim's details out."shi Tharoor thanks to our media's penchant for drama."

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