Will end fast only after demand for swift punishment to rapists is met: DCW chief

New Delhi, Dec 4 (PTI) From students to Nirbhaya's parents, people on Wednesday thronged Samta Sthal, where DCW chief Swati Maliwal is on a hunger strike for the second day, demanding capital punishment for rapists within six months of their conviction.

Maliwal launched her fast at Jantar Mantar here on Tuesday night, but later, she and her supporters were shifted to Samta Sthal, the memorial of former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief appealed to all female MPs to raise the issue of women's safety in Parliament.

She had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, demanding that rapists be hanged within six months of their conviction.

In a letter addressed to the women MPs, Maliwal cited the gangrape-and-murder case of a veterinarian in Hyderabad and the rape-and-murder case of a six-year-old girl in Rajasthan and said children and women were becoming victims of sex crimes across the country.

Maliwal urged the women MPs to raise the DCW's demands, including immediate hanging of Nirbhaya's rapists, time-bound redressal of mercy petitions and increase in police resources.

The demands also include creation of more fast-track courts and an optimum usage of the Nirbhaya fund. The DCW has also stressed on digitising the police force and creating a software to fix police accountability in such incidents.

Maliwal received support from Nirbhaya's parents, who came to meet her at Samta Sthal.

'The pain that they have gone through, only they know it. Even after seven years, Nirbhaya's rapists are alive and her parents are running from pillar to post seeking justice. This struggle is dedicated to those thousands of Nirbhayas who are victims of the weak system,' the DCW chief wrote on Twitter.

Cries of 'we want justice', 'Nirbhaya hum sharminda hain, tere kaatil zinda hain' resonated throughout the day at Samta Sthal. Several women narrated their ordeal of travelling on Delhi roads and how unsafe they feel in the national capital. Young and old alike visited Maliwal to lend solidarity to the movement.

In the evening, around 300 UPSC and SSC exam aspirants from Mukherjee Nagar reached the venue to offer their support.

Demanding that there should be a strong system to punish the perpetrators of rape, the students also said if stringent measures were not initiated to ensure the safety and security of women, they will take their protest to Parliament.

Maliwal told them that she would continue with her hunger strike till the government fulfilled her demands.

She appealed to the students to become responsible citizens of the country.

Giving a message to male students, she said the dream of a safe country for women would come true only when men fought shoulder to shoulder with women in their battle for entitlements.

Maliwal began her day by paying obeisance at Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. PTI SLB RC