Delhi gangrape shakes Parliament; Jaya Bachchan breaks down, Sushma Swaraj, others seek death penalty

FP

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Tuesday announced a special task force headed by the union home secretary to look into the safety of women in Delhi, and to take steps to make the capital safer for them as MPs came together in Parliament to express their indignation over the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman on Sunday night.

Several MPs demanded the death penalty for those committing such crimes. Shinde said the gangrape case would be heard by a fast-track court, and promised an inquiry and strict action if any lapses by police were found.

Late on Tuesday evening, Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited Safdarjung hospital and met doctors on duty in the anaesthesia and surgery departments to get an update on the victim's condition. She spent about 15 minutes in the hospital, and spoke to members of the victim's family.

Sonia also wrote to Shinde and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, urging them to take all possible steps to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.

Earlier in the day, the discussion in Rajya Sabha saw an emotional outburst by actor-politician Jaya Bachchan who said she was "terribly disturbed" over the incident, and felt "ashamed" sitting in the House as she was "helpless" for "not being able to do anything".

Bachchan, who broke down while speaking, said the "act of sexual assault should be treated on par with attempt to murder" and demanded that "section 307 of the IPC should be amended to include rape under its purview". She also grilled Shinde, asking if he had made any "announcement saying that you are really sorry that something so shameful has happened in our country and you will take very strict action?"

"I am very worried about the parents of this girl. Everybody will forget what is going to happen to her, but she will remember for the rest of her life. It will be a scar," she said in a choked voice.

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