Won't end fast until 'something concrete happens', says Maliwal

Maliwal is on a hunger strike for the past nine days at Rajghat in New Delhi.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal said on Saturday that she won't end her fast until "something concrete happens" to ensure the safety of a girl child, even though the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to give stringent punishment, including the death penalty, to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years.

Maliwal, who is on a hunger strike for the past nine days at Rajghat in New Delhi, made her stand clear in two Twitter posts.

"I congratulate people of this country for this victory. Very few protests have achieved so much in such less time. But until something concrete happens, I will not give up. Until a system is there which ensures safety for the last girl, I won't give up," the Delhi Commission for Women chairperson said.

"I will continue the fast until the ordinance is passed. Also, police resources and accountability needs to be increased. Really sad that some channels are playing false news that I have broken the fast. Praying to all news channels conscience to kindly not report fake news," she added.

Yesterday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged her to end the fast, but she said will continue to fast until all her demands were met.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maliwal mentioned her six demands, which included the passage of the ordinance, recruitment of police personnel as per the United Nations standards and fixing accountability of the police force.

She has sought that files relating to the recruitment of 14,000 police personnel - approved by the Home Ministry but pending with the Finance Ministry - be cleared.

She demanded setting up of fast-track courts across India to try rape cases, and the constitution of a high-level committee, comprising the home minister, the lt governor and the Delhi chief minister, to review issues related to the safety of women in the national capital.

Yesterday, she wrote to the Union Finance Ministry, seeking to know the details of the action taken on proposals received since 2005 to boost the capacity of the Delhi Police.

Stating that Delhi reports three child rape cases every day, Maliwal said a major impediment to ensuring speedy justice in these cases is the time taken by the police in the investigation.

"While the acute shortage of staff felt by the Delhi Police itself may or may not seem urgent on files but at the grassroots, it's having a dangerous effect," she said in the letter.

A group of activists urged Maliwal to end her fast and reconsider her demand for the death penalty for rape of minors. The activists said there is no evidence to suggest the capital punishment acts as a deterrent to stop such crimes.

Amid a nationwide outrage over cases of sexual assault on girls and women in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, in Surat in Gujarat and in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, the Cabinet today approved an ordinance to provide stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years.

The ordinance will be promulgated after the presidential assent.

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