New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal sat on an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday, against the increasing incidents of rape being reported from across the country, demanding strict and swift punishment to the convicts in these cases.
Hundreds of women joined Maliwal in her protest against the gangrape and murder of a young veterinarian in Hyderabad and the brutal rape of a six-year-old girl in Rajasthan.
Maliwal said she has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding that rapists be hanged within six months of their conviction.
'My demand to PM is that we want capital punishment for the rapists of minor and major victims. The accused in the Hyderabad case must be hanged. Last year, I sat on protest and within 10 days, the government made a law that the rapists of minors will get capital punishment within six months, but this did not happen.
'I want the PM to implement the law now. I am demanding strict and swift punishment,' she said, adding that the process to decide on mercy petitions should be time-bound.
The DCW chief said there is a shortage of 66,000 police officers and 45 fast-track courts in the capital Delhi. 'We need to enhance the infrastructure for a better implementation of the law.' She claimed she did not receive 'a single reply' from the prime minister to the 'hundreds of letter' she wrote to him as chief of the Delhi Commission for Women.
'He should encourage us that we are with you. We are not against the government.' She said the Delhi police denied her permission to hold the protest at Jantar Mantar, but police said they have not rejected her demand.
Police said a letter was sent to DCW seeking details about the nature of the protest, mode of transport, microphone arrangements and the number of protesters expected there, with a copy of an undertaking to be filled according to Supreme Court guidelines.
Those details are awaited, they said.
But Maliwal said, 'The Delhi police is also not supporting us. We do not have any tent here and it will be difficult for us to spend the night. They are threatening us that they will throw the protestors out by 5 in the evening.' 'I want to tell Delhi police that we are protesting so that your force will get 66,000 new officers. I am not a criminal, I want your (Delhi police) support and I appeal to the countrymen that they should come out in large number and support us,' Maliwal added.
The women supporting Maliwal in the protest shouted slogans to highlight the lack of security women feel in the country. They also raised slogans demanding justice for the Hyderabad veterinarian — 'Udane do parindo ko, phansi do darindo ko', 'we would not tolerate this anymore,' 'Nirbhaya hum sharminda hai, tere kaatil zinda hai'.
'We got to know about the protest through media and came to show our support. There must be fear in people: if they do anything against the law, they will be punished,' Isha Jaiswal, a college student, said.
Chanchal Solanki, 18 and Class 12 student, said, 'We want the accused in the Hyderabad gangrape and murder case hanged, or allow the public to punish them.' 'We have come here to protest against the gangrape and murder of the Hyderabad veterinarian. She was burnt alive and we want to know what was her fault — asking for help or stepping out of her house to see a patient? The accused should not be hanged, they must be burnt alive. We do not feel safe and our parents do not allow us to step out of the house after sunset,' Rajani Chaudhary, a 19-year-old Delhi University student, said.
The protesters were also holding placards on which their messages and demands were mentioned. One of them asked, 'Police uncle, are we safe?' 'We want the government to give justice to the veterinarian and hang the culprits. They won't be spared,' Kiran Khattar, a social worker protesting at Jantar Mantar, said. PTI SLB/NIT AMP NIT ABH ABH