Reflecting the nationwide outrage, anguish and grief over the horrific rape and battery of a young physiotherapy student in a moving bus in South Delhi, angry members in both the Houses of Parliament demanded the death penalty for the perpetrators.
Members in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha expressed serious concern over repeated and frequent incidents of rape and assault on women in the national capital where law and order is controlled directly by the Union Home Ministry.
Senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the death penalty should be introduced for rapists. “What is the government doing to curb rape cases in the capital?” she asked.
Girija Vyas of the Congress pointed out that there was no security on buses used by the public in Delhi. She said that rape cases need to be fast-tracked in a special court. She also urged the house to pass a bill on sexual assault on women.
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar led the House in expressing outrage over the “spine-chilling’’ incident, saying it was shameful for the entire society. She asked the government to take strong steps immediately to ensure security for women.
Several members in the Rajya Sabha, including Najma Heptullah (BJP), Vasanthy Stanley of the DMK and V. Maitreyan (AIADMK), demanded that the “culprits should be hanged till death.’’
Samajwadi Party member and cinestar of yesteryears Jaya Bachchan broke down in the Upper House. She stood in protest for quite some time and said that an act of sexual assault should be treated on par with murder. “I am terribly disturbed...I am very shocked,’’ Ms. Bachchan said in a choked voice.
Noted jurist and former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani demanded removal of the Delhi Police chief over the failure to stop the “heinous’’ crime.
BSP chief Mayawati said the law should be amended to ensure stronger action in such cases. “Nothing will happen by only arresting the perpetrators. Give them stringent punishment,’’ she said.
Condemning the incident of rape, CPI leader D. Raja said that India cannot claim to be a civilised society if such brutal crimes continue to occur against women.
Derek O’Brien of Trinamool Congress said he felt “nervous and scared as the father of a 17-year-old daughter’’ as Delhi was becoming the “rape capital” of the country.
Later, making a statement in Parliament, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde announced that a special task force, at the level of Home Secretary, would be constituted to look into the safety issues for women in Delhi by taking into consideration the suggestions made by MPs.
He said that a Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2012 has already been introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 4 with the objective of improving the conviction rate in rape cases.