New Delhi: The shock over gruesome rape and brutality of a five-year-old girl on Monday resonated in the Rajya Sabha with members cutting across party lines pressing for stern action, including death penalty, to deal with such crimes even if it needs a relook at the new anti-rape law. The House took up an impromptu discussion on the issue during which members also suggested an all-party meeting to find ways of tackling such crimes more effectively.
Initiating the debate, BJP leader Maya Singh referring to the latest rape incident in East Delhi and said the accused should be given "immediate death penalty" without going through a lengthy court trial. "It is proved that the person has done it (crime). Still, a case will be registered and tried in court. It is a lengthy process. We should immediately award him death penalty. Such people should be hanged," she sought.
She said the new anti-rape bill should be relooked, if required, to make it further stringent. That apart, she demanded an all-party meeting should be convened soon to discuss this issue. The anti-rape bill was passed in Parliament in March against the backdrop of the countrywide outrage over Delhi gang-rape. It aims to provide for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.
Blaming the Delhi Police for failing to tackle such crimes in the city, Singh said that enacting laws in Parliament alone is not sufficient, it is necessary that the law is implemented in full spirit. She sought to know from the Home Minister, "Who is ruling the roost and who is going to take action?"
Mayawati (BSP) stressed that there is a need to "rise above party politics" to curb rising rape incidents, while seeking police reforms and time-abound action against culprit. "In other cities also, atrocities on women are increasing. We should rise above party politics to stop this crime," she said.
She noted that the rape incidents across the country, including Uttar Pradesh, are rising despite bringing in a strong law in the first half of the Budget Session. "During the first half of the Budget session, a strong law was brought in to stop the incidents of rape. But these incidents of rape are increasing...the subject is serious and we should not hesitate to amend it," she said.
The BSP chief said police reforms are required for effective enforcement of law. "We have laws, but not implemented in right perspective. Lot of improvement is needed in police," she said. Mayawati also emphasised the need to change the mind-set of the society by censure of entertainment channels, TV serials and advertisements.
Prabha Thakur (Cong) demanded that the accused should be hanged and an all-party meeting called on this issue. "Why such people are not hanged? There should be a time limit of one month....," she said and sought a stronger law. She also took a dig at BJP saying, "In Madhya Pradesh, criminals are not caught. In Delhi, at least, they are caught."
Blaming the declining values in the society for rising crime against women, Sivanand Tiwari (JD-U) said police cannot do much when the county is facing a "social crisis" due to decline in values. He suggested that the government to do a "psychological analysis of those people committing such crimes".
Tiwari also said the police cannot help much in a patriarchal society where women has been made a consumer item. "In such a situation, how can we protect women and what police can do?" he asked. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said India rubs shoulder with other big countries in G-20 meetings but women safety is lowest here.
He said that rape incidents have risen after the December 16 incident and urged the government not to take the current Delhi rape case in a "piecemeal manner". He also blamed the government's "neo-economic liberalised policies" for unleashing the "animal spirit" in the society.
Yechury identified two sets of problems - weak enforcement of law and justice and modernity of democracy - for rising crime against women. He said society cannot change unless individuals respect each other.
Rajani Patil (Cong) demanded convening of an all-party meeting to deliberate on the issue in order to check recurrence of such incidents. "Fear of law is not there in the country", she said, adding there was need to make laws like the UAE nations.
AA Zinnah (DMK) stressed the need for punishment equal to murder convicts to perpetrators of rape. Dr Ashok Ganguly (Nom) said, "incest is one of the biggest hidden shame and quite widespread" and called for a national movement to check injustice against women.
Md Adeeb (Ind) demanded change in laws governing the juvenile to ensure stern punishment to them. Smriti Irani (BJP) drew the attention of the House towards fear psychosis gripping parents and mothers about their kids in the wake of brutal gangrape of the child demanding devising "a mechanism to implement law."
She questioned the role of Delhi Police too asking as to how it could take three days to locate the missing child. She said it was unfortunate that no all party-meet was convened till date despite UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi saying that time has come for action.
Alka Balram Kshatriya (Cong) took a dig at Bollywood stars that instead of tweeting after such incidents they should abstain from writing offensive songs. She also stressed the need for chemical castration of persons involved in rape.
Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGP) drew the attention of the House towards similar incidents in Assam and demanded that there should not be any discrimination in providing medical assistance to such victims whether they belong to Delhi or other places. M Rama Jois (BJP) cautioned against "total degradation of moral values."
Criticising the government for failing to stop atrocities against women and children, KD Singh (TMC) said the model followed in West Bengal to prevent crime against women should be emulated in others states. He said ever since the anti-rape law was passed recently, 386 rape cases have been registered which means "we have not done enough".
He demanded setting up fast track courts and all women police stations and chemical castration of the accused. Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) attributed such incidents to exposure to western culture, movies, vulgar advertisements on television and the erosion of value system in the society.
Disagreeing with him, Javed Akhtar (Nom) said it would not be proper to blame western culture, cinema and liberalisation for the problem. "There are over 8,000 cinema theatres in Southern states of the 14,000 cinema halls in the country, but crime against women is the lowest in South," he said.
Akhtar felt the real issue lies the way women are treated in India where female foeticide is rampant and "gender prejudice" is profound. He also pointed out certain flaws in the system where it is beyond the reach of the poor to seek justice and demanded fast track courts. Akhtar said "mere reverence for our mothers and sisters will not work unless we start respecting them."
V Maitreyan (AIADMK) lashed out at the government for the rising crime graph against women saying "the government does not have the will" to implement the law in letter and spirit. He said the anti-rape law, passed recently, was drafted in haste by the government to deflect attention from the flak it was facing following the Delhi gangrape incident December, 2012.
Gundu Sudha Rani (TDP) demanded death penalty for rape convict, while Najma Heptulla (BJP) said a rape committed by a juvenile should be treated as a crime by an adult and death penalty awarded to them. Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) and Sashi Bhusan Behera (BJP) also spoke.