Questions on safety, security of women emerge following Delhi rape case details

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 18, 2012 17:39 hrs

Gurgaon: Members in both houses of parliament on Monday expressed pain and anguish at the horrific torture and gang-rape of a young woman in a moving bus in Delhi with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde assuring a fast trial of the case as well as more measures to ensure safety of women.

Members in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha cut across party lines in strongly condemning the incident with many of them demanding capital punishment for rapists even as the 23-year-old victim continued to be critical and on ventilator support at a hospital here.

Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Maya Singh proposed that there should be no legal recourse for such criminals.

"There should be toughest punishment for them and no one should argue their case," she said.

Samajwadi Party's Jaya Bachchan broke down, saying she wondered what would happen to the girl's family, while Trinamool Congress member Derek O'Brien said that as the father of a teenaged girl, he was scared.

Bachchan, the BJP's Najma Heptullah, Shiv Sena's Manohar Joshi and Rashtriya Janata Dal's Ram Kripal Yadav were among the members who said death sentence should be the punishment for the rapists. Bachchan said rape should be treated at par with attempt to murder.

"I am very worried about the parents of this girl. What is going to happen to them? All will forget but she will remember for the rest of her life. It'll be a scar," she said, her voice laden with emotion.

"Every day, women are getting raped by their fathers, their brothers, their uncles and it's a shame. We are bringing in bills for certain sections of society which are deprived. What about women who bring you into this world? Where is their protection?"

"I'm ashamed. I personally feel very very ashamed that I am sitting in this house and not being able to do anything and I am equally disturbed by the answers that keep coming to this house which are totally incorrect," she said.

Janata Dal-United's Shivanand Tiwari blamed growing commercialisation and projection of women as commodity in the media for increasing rape incidents, while O'Brien said rape is not just a women's issue.

"It's about men who stop behaving like human beings and start behaving like animals," he said.

BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said Shinde should take responsibility and assure the house that such an incident will not happen again.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati advocated tough punishment for the criminals and said it should be publicised to discourage any more such incidents.

Congress member Renuka Chowdhury suggested that all woman MPs should go and meet the Delhi chief minister and the city police commissioner.

Earlier, the house was adjourned twice during the question hour over the incident with opposition demanding a statement from the home minister.

Members in the Lok Sabha also expressed outrage over the shocking incident.

Is death penalty for rapists an option?

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said the accused in such cases should be hanged.

Speaker Meira Kumar termed the incident "shameful and horrifying" and urged the government to take immediate and stern steps in the matter.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said: "We share the concern of the house. Strong steps would be taken in the matter,"

In his response, Shinde said the Delhi gang-rape case will be tried by a fast-track court with request for daily hearings and said action will be taken against police for any lapses in security of women.

He said a special task force under the home secretary will be set up to look into safety issues of women in the capital. It will take into account suggestions made by the MPs, he assured.

Outside parliament, analysts tried to make sense of what had happened, the psychopath edge of the crime that gave it its bestiality.

'Mere skirt se oonchi meri aawaz hai'

Saying that this was a sociopathic crime, psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh told CNN-IBN: "The mindset of the perpetrators of gangrape is an amalgam of mob/herd mentality, disinhibition, utter disrespect for social norms and a certain knowledge that the so called protectors of law will either turn a blind eye or can be pressurised or simply bought with a certain sum of money."

Carrying slogans like "mere skirt se oonchi meri aawaz hai", Delhi's women - and men - who demonstrated this Tuesday asking for exemplary punishment like hanging or public hanging, agreed.

Delhi Police Commissioner demands more PCR vans

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar Tuesday asked the home ministry to increase the number of police patrolling vehicles to increase police effectiveness in the capital after the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus Sunday night.

Kumar said he had asked Home Secretary R.K. Singh to provide Delhi Police with 370 more Police Control Room (PCR) vans.

"I also submitted a proposal to replace non-functional PCR vans," said Kumar.

Bus driver sent to five days' police custody in gang-rape

A Delhi court on Tuesday sent to five days' police custody the driver of a bus in which a 23-year-old woman was tortured and gang-raped two days ago.

Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal, sending bus driver Ram Singh to police remand till Dec 23, allowed the police plea seeking his custodial interrogation for facilitating the arrest of three other accused.

The court said: "Since the accused is required for apprehending other co-accused and also for the identification of clothes and recovery of the ATM card and mobile phones of the complainant, accused Ram Singh is remanded to five days of police custody. Accused be produced on Dec 23."

Apart from the driver, police have arrested three other accused in the case. Singh was arrested Monday.

The brutal rape and torture occurred Sunday night when the girl and her male friend boarded a private bus at Munirka in south Delhi to go to Dwarka in west Delhi after watching a movie.

Netizens seek swift, strict action against accused

Amid national outrage over brutal gangrape of a paramedical student, social networking and micro blogging sites have been flooded with strong comments condemning the ghastly act with some demanding that the accused be publicly hanged.

"For once someone should have the self respect to step down for failing to stop such rapes in Delhi," said Pritish Nandy, a renowned film maker, on twitter.

Actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted "I believe swift and severe punishment is the only deterrent. These deviants are not afraid of consequence as it comes too little too late".

Some users also created groups like India against Rape on the social networking portal-- facebook.

Guys we need to do something to stop this brutality!! Police can't be every where everytime!! We all can," said Shankar Bansal in his post under 'India Against Rape'.

Another user posted "In sabko sare bazaar fansi deni chahiye (the guilty should be hanged publicly)."

A 23-year-old paramedical student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus on Sunday night in the national capital. A male friends accompanying the victim was also badly beaten up by the accused. The duo were then dumped near Mahipalpur flyover here.

Delhi Police today claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of four people allegedly involved in the heinous act.

Users on twitters were also actively following Rajya Sabha MP and actress Jaya Bachchan and appreciated her for strongly taking up the matter in the Parliament today.

"Salute to Jaya Bachchan...atleast we have som1 who really understands what it feels like...!! Thank you mam," Prerna said in her tweet.

Another twitterati Amrita said "what Politicians said in Parliament. 1st time I agree with them. Heads must roll".

'92 per cent working women feel insecure in Delhi-NCR'

At least 92 per cent of working women feel insecure, especially during night, in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), industry panel Assocham said here on Tuesday.

The assessment based on feedback received from women says that 92 per cent females working with medium and small scale firms are extremely worried and concerned as regards to their outside moments.

According to the survey by Assocham Social Development Foundation, 56 per cent of such workforce in the medium sector is quite apprehensive about their safety and security, particularly after sunset.

The same fear of security lapses is felt by about 36 percent working women engaged in large scale establishments.

Assocham has conducted a random survey of women in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune and Dehradun, among others.

All women respondents very strongly felt that the problem of insecurity faced by women is bigger than any other problem or challenge faced by India.

Releasing the assessment, Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said that in sector-specific cases -- BPOs, travel and tourism, and nursing homes -- women employees are the most vulnerable and prone to both physical and non-physical attacks, especially after their duty hours are over.

In nursing homes including hospitals, 83 per cent women continue to suffer from insecurity.

Delhi topped the list with 92 percent of women respondents complaining that they feel unsafe.

Eighty-five percent of women in Bangalore, 82 per cent in Kolkata, and 18 percent in Hyderabad have reported feeling unsafe while working in day and night shifts.

Airlines, hotels and service industries have large contingents of female workers. The media also have late night shifts, said Rawat.

The survey further highlights that two in every three women in the national capital have faced some form of sexual harassment in the last year two years.

Delhi women face continuous and different forms of sexual harassment in crowded and secluded places, says Rawat.

Majority of women who were surveyed said buses were the most unsafe form of transport. Many said the Metro system, which used to be safer earlier, is now equally crowded and unsafe.

The survey reveals the most common forms of harassment are "verbal (passing lewd comments), visual (staring and leering) and physical (touching or groping or leaning over)", adds the survey.

Around 92 percent of women respondents very strongly feel that any crime against women should be a non-bailable offence with severe punishment in fast-track courts.

Protest outside Delhi police station probing rape case

Many people, including university students, on Tuesday protested outside a police station probing the gang-rape of a young woman on a moving bus in Delhi on Sunday night.

"By protesting outside the police station, we want to create awareness and show that we care about women's safety in the national capital. The government and police must ensure that harassment of women in Delhi stops," said Rajiv Kumar, a protester outside the Vasant Kunj Police Station.

"Installing CCTV cameras in bus stops or PCR patrolling will not work. Stringent measures are needed," he said.

Anupamaben, another protester, said: "Delhi cannot care for or handle women well. Every time such an incident happens, we protest. But harassing a girl and raping continues. Policy makers are just mute spectators."

Another woman, who did not want to be named, said: "We can't even imagine the amount of pain the women is undergoing. I'm ashamed at the torture a women has to undergo just because she is a women. Shame on Delhi government and police."

"We don't know whether she would survive or not? We need justice for the girl. We want Delhi Police to take action against the rapists," said a teenager holding a placard.

The incident occurred Sunday night when the 23-year-old woman with her male friend boarded a private bus after watching a movie to go from Munirka to Dwarka.

The woman was gang-raped by at least seven men and thrown off the bus in a critically injured condition along with her friend.

She is currently on ventilator support at a hospital here.

Sonia asks govt to take strictest action to prevent crimes like gangrape

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday asked the government to take the strictest possible measures to ensure that there is no recurrence of incidents like the barbaric gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in the capital that has shaken the country.

Gandhi has talked to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and National Commission for Women Chairperson Mamta Sharma and told them to ensure that all possible measures should be taken so that such incidents do not occur again.

On the gangrape case, Gandhi, who is also UPA Chairperson, wanted the guilty to be brought to book at the earliest, Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.

Earlier in the day, both Houses of Parliament expressed shock and outrage over the heinous gangrape of the girl in a moving bus in south Delhi. Members, cutting across party lines, made strong demands for capital punishment to perpetrators of such crimes.

Opposition members demanded a categorical assurance from the Home Minister that such an incident will not recur.

Women members in both Houses were in the forefront in expressing shock and anguish over the incident, voicing concern over the safety of the fair sex in Delhi. Cinestar- turned-MP Jaya Bachchan even broke down while speaking on the issue in the Upper House.

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

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