New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday welcomed the ordinance providing for tough punishment including death sentence if a rape victim dies or is left in vegetative state, saying it supports strict laws but insisted on improving policing to ensure safety of women. "The BJP is in support of strict laws. In Parliament, we will elaborate our views regarding this. For the security of women, there should be genuine and effective law. But good policing and good governance are equally important," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
He said the party was supportive of all effective measures to deal with crime against women. "...BJP in principle is supportive of all the effective measures including capital punishment in case of aggravated crime of rape," he said. As per the ordinance, rape that leads to death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state can now attract death penalty. "It was the BJP which mentioned that acid attack cases should be made a separate offence. We are happy that has also been recommended but what is very important to know is that unless there is good policing and good governance, then mere change of law will not bring in the desired result," Prasad said.
Taking a pot shot at the government for failing to contain incidents of rape in Delhi even after the massive public outrage following the December 16 gangrape, he said there was need to improve policing to stop crime against women. "We will expect Manmohan Singh whose government controls the police in Delhi to take effective measures and if these laws create a situation where the country becomes more aware and women are ensured security and sanctity, it will be good development," he said.
The ordinance, based on the recommendations of the Justice JS Verma Committee and going beyond, proposes to replace the word 'rape' with 'sexual assault' to expand the definition of all types sexual crimes against women. It also proposes enhanced punishment for other crimes against women like stalking, voyeurism, acid attacks, indecent gestures like words and inappropriate touch and brings into its ambit 'marital rape'.