A UNITED Parliament erupted in outrage and anger spilled onto the streets in several States on Monday over the rape and murder of a young veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, as MPs demanded swift death penalty, public lynching and castration of rape convicts. As the Centre said it was ready to amend laws to bring in stringent provisions and ensure speedy justice, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu even suggested a rethink on allowing convicts in heinous crimes to go in for mercy appeals.
Cutting across party lines, the MPs in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha condemned the Hyderabad incident ‘in one voice’ and demanded strict laws that punish the guilty in crimes against women within a fixed time-frame. Dozens of people also staged protests at the Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi. “This is my first time in a protest. I am here because just like a woman who stays in Delhi away from home, the issue affects me and my family,” said Aditi Purohit, a student of Delhi University’s Hansraj College, as she broke down while shouting slogans demanding capital punishment for the accused. Students of Presidency university and Jadavpur university staged separate protests in Kolkata, demanding prompt conviction and action in rape cases.
The charred body of the victim, working as an assistant veterinarian at a state-run hospital, was found dumped under a culvert at Shadnagar near Hyderabad on the morning of November 28. Four men, all lorry workers and aged between 20 and 24, were arrested on November 29 on charges of raping and killing the woman. They were sent to judicial custody for 14 days on Saturday. The four, who faced violent protests while being taken to the prison, are now kept in solitary confinement at Cherlapally Prison. The Police probing the crime sought the custody of the four for interrogation.
The Cyberabad police filed a petition in a court at Shadnagar near Hyderabad for custodial interrogation of the accused, a senior police official told PTI. The official said they would complete the probe in a time-bound manner. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan said the rapists should be “brought out in public and lynched.” DMK’s P Wilson said courts should be empowered to surgically and chemically castrate convicted rapists before they are released from jails so as to check repeat offenders.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) said the society will have to tackle this problem at its root and the guilty should be given stringent punishment without any discrimination on the basis of religion or caste. Mohd. Ali Khan of the Congress and Sanjay Singh of the Aam Adami Party (AAP) demanded that the trial and punishment be carried out within a fixed time frame. Voicing his anguish, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, “We in one voice” condemn such incidents. As one member after another mentioned the Hyderabad incident, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said that the Government is ready to amend the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC) to ensure swift justice in heinous crimes. The Centre had written to States and police forces over the issue, he said, adding all political parties will be consulted.
As soon as the House met for the day, Speaker Om Birla said he would allow members to raise the “serious issue” in the Zero Hour. Speaking in the Upper House, Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan said the rapists should be “brought out in public and lynched.” Terming the incident as “painful” and “inhuman”, Congress MP Uttam Kumar Reddy demanded that a fast track court pronounce quick verdict and hang the convicts. NCP’s Supriya Sule (NCP) said there should be “zero tolerance” towards such incidents. Nama Nageswar Rao of the TRS, which is in power in Telangana, said the State Government had given highest priority to cases of crime against women and noted that accused in this case were arrested within six hours..
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