Nation remembers Delhi braveheart

Madhur Tankha
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Society has still not changed, says her father

Politicians cutting across party lines and people from all walks of life on Monday paid an emotional tribute to the physiotherapy student who was brutally gang-raped here a year ago. They were unanimous that an amendment in the law was needed to punish juveniles who commit such criminal acts.

Speaking at the Constitution Club here, the victim’s father said: “December 16 must be remembered by everyone so that such an incident never occurs again. We are speaking about bringing a change in law but society still has not changed. The need of the hour is to boost the morale of the police force. I thank all those who braved lathis during their candlelight protests yet remain steadfast in supporting us.”

Looking frail and subdued, the victim’s mother said women’s security was paramount and her daughter’s sacrifice should not go in vain.

Addressing the victim’s parents, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: “We have all assembled here to give our condolence and tell you that your sorrow and pain are also being felt by us. She was like a daughter and will always remain one. I hope the Delhi government’s agencies will fulfil whatever you decide here. Let us pledge that such an incident never occurs again.”

Later, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said though the nightmarish incident occurred a year ago she shudders while thinking about the pain and suffering the victim underwent.

“It was an incident which surpassed all barbaric incidents but the girl’s extraordinary courage was unmatched. No other girl would have survived such an ordeal. The whole country was agitated and candlelight vigils were organised to demand death sentence for the perpetrators.”

Expressing concern over the juvenile being sent to an observation home, Ms. Swaraj said she had prepared a private Bill but could not present it in Parliament because of the impasse. “I want the Union government to come up with an amendment so that a crime committed by a 16-year-old is severely punished.”

Unless those occupying top positions such as politicians, mediapersons, judges and godmen involved in such incidents were not punished, how could one expect justice for the others, Ms. Swaraj asked. “Former Supreme Court judge A.K. Ganguly’s intern was less than his granddaughter’s age. He should have resigned as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. Similarly, Tarun Tejpal indulged in a shameful act with a junior who was the daughter of his journalist-friend.”

Speaking to The Hindu , paediatrician Kiran Aggarwal said she was with the Rape Crisis Intervention Centre in South Delhi (RCICs operate in every district and are run by a non-governmental organisation), when the police referred the physiotherapy student’s case to it.

“The perpetrators tried to throw the physiotherapy student out of the bus but since the backdoor was jammed, they dragged her by her hair and threw her out through the front door,” she recounted.



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