Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu suggested a rethink on the practice of allowing convicts in such heinous crimes to go in for mercy appeals because the death sentences of convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya case were still to be carried out. “What happens even after punishment is given (to convicts). We all are witness…appeal, mercy (petition)…can anybody think of having mercy on such people?,” Naidu said, summing up the mood of the House.
“What is required is not a new bill; what is required is political will, administrative skill and then change of mindset and then go for the kill of the social evil,” Naidu added.
He suggested that photographs of those guilty of crimes against women should be published to instil fear in them. In Lok Sabha, expressing grief over the incident, Speaker Om Birla said we condemn such incidents “in one voice”.
Earlier, Rajya Sabha MPs across party lines condemned the spurt in crime against women and demanded stringent laws to punish the guilty within a fixed time-frame. Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said society as a whole must tackle this problem without getting into region, religion or caste.
P Wilson of DMK said courts should be empowered to surgically or chemically castrate convicted rapists before release from jails to check repeat offenders, while Jaya Bachchan of Samajwadi Party said such criminals should be “brought out in public and lynched”. She also wanted security personnel in-charge of the area in Hyderabad where the crime took place to be questioned and held accountable.
In Lok Sabha, condemning the crime, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel said the incident had brought shame to India. “I request the government to not keep quiet. We need to send a strict message,” she said. Maintaining that there should be “zero tolerance” towards such incidents, Supriya Sule (NCP) said even men deserved security.
New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi said often people who participated in candle marches (protests against such crimes) were the ones who also protested against death sentence to the accused. “This should be made available to the public for them to know what is being said. I also feel that physical training should be made compulsory for girls in all schools,” she added.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh said he was falling short of words to condemn the heinous crime. “We are ready for discussions in the House so that stringent provisions in laws could be explored to give punishment to those involved in such ghastly incidents,” he said, adding that heinous crimes were happening even after strict laws after the Nirbhaya incident.
As soon as the House met for the day, the Speaker said he would allow members to raise the “serious issue” during zero hour. Terming the rape of the young veterinarian as a “painful” and “inhuman” incident, Uttam Kumar Reddy (Congress) slammed the Telangana home minister for his purported “insensitive” remarks. He also slammed the state police for the delay in lodging a case.
Mohammed Ali Khan of Congress said strict timelines should be set for trial of accused in fast-track courts, without them being given any religious identity or colour. Veer Singh (BSP) said neither new laws were being implemented, nor the Nirbhaya Fund utilised properly.
Trinamool’s Saugata Roy said even after the enactment of strict laws, rapes were still taking place. He was of the view that the House should take cognisance and urged the Centre to immediately frame laws to make rape punishable by death sentence.
BJD’s Pinaki Misra questioned the delay in executing the death sentence in the Nirbhaya case. He said laws and establishment of fast-track courts would not make a difference till the time the death sentence was not executed.