Parliament outraged over Delhi gang-rape
BJP demands death, Congress plays it safe
The gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in the national capital united parliamentarians in condemnation, but they did not appear to be on the same page on the issue of amending the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to make provisions for awarding capital punishment to rapists.
Both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday expressed shock and anguish over the crime that left the young victim struggling for her life. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded death penalty for the rapists in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
The Congress, which leads the ruling United Progressive Alliance, also joined the opposition in condemning the incident, but stopped short of echoing the BJP to demand capital punishment for rapists.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj raised the issue in the Lower House during the Zero Hour and made a strong pitch for death penalty for the rapists.
“Some people seek abolition of capital punishment. But I have been in favour of death penalty for such heinous crimes,” she said. “The rape victims, even if they survive, live like dead for the rest of their lives. Don’t you think people who commit such crimes deserve capital punishment?”
Swaraj also lashed out at the UPA Government at the Centre and the Congress Government in Delhi for frequent rapes and assaults on women in the national capital.
She noted that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in the national capital territory. Hence, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde should tell the House what initiatives the Delhi Police were taking to ensure safety of women in the metropolis. She also criticised Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit for purportedly advising women not to venture out late at night.
Upper House members put the government on the mat on the deteriorating safety standards for women in the capital and its failure to carry out police reforms. Cinestar-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan even broke down in the Rajya Sabha.