Rajya Sabha condemns Delhi gang-rape

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) Cutting across party lines, Rajya Sabha members Tuesday condemned the gang-rape of a young woman on a moving bus in Delhi, with several demanding capital punishment for rapists.

Anger and emotions filled the house as anguished members of parliament told the government to ensure that no such incident takes place again.

The 23-year-old woman, who was gang-raped by at least seven men and thrown off the bus along with a male friend Sunday night, is critical and on ventilator support at a hospital here.

Samajwadi Party's Jaya Bachchan broke down in the house saying she wondered what would happen to the girl's family, while Trinamool Congerss's Derek O'Brien said 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.

Raising the issue in the upper house of parliament, 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.

Her party colleague Najma Heptullah demanded capital punishment for rapists "so that people are afraid".

Backing her, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said: "There should be fast track courts. They should get life sentence."

Bachchan also 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 emotions.

While Janata Dal-United's Shivanand Tiwari blamed growing commercialisation and projection of women as commodity in the media for increasing rape incidents, O'Brien said he was not only shaken by the incident but was also nervous as father of a teenaged girl.

"I stand here nervous and scared as the father of a 17-year-old daughter," he 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 union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde should take responsibility.

"Home minister should take moral responsibility and assure the house that such an incident will not happen again," Naidu said.

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

"Delhi is the capital and in Delhi for a long while I have been seeing every day there are cases of exploitation, rape of innocent girls and women," Mayawati said.

"When culprits are arrested, the case is forgotten. If there is publicity of what happens to the accused, their morale will be down," she said.

Opposition members were joined by those from the ruling party in condemning the incident, with Congress member Renuka Chowdhary suggesting that all woman MPs should go and meet the Delhi chief minister and the city police commissioner.

"I suggest women MPs should meet the commissioner of police and Delhi chief minister to work out an action plan whereby such incidents do not happen again," she said.

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

The incident occurred after the woman and her male friend boarded a private bus after watching a movie to go from Munirka to Dwarka.

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