Delhi gangrape shakes Parliament; Jaya Bachchan breaks down, Sushma Swaraj, others seek death penalty
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The issue was discussed in both Houses with members cutting across party lines expressing serious concern about repeated rape cases in Delhi. Setting the tone, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj made a strong pitch for capital punishment for such crimes while Congress' Girija Vyas said death penalty could lead to the murder of a rape victim.
Speaker Meira Kumar articulated the outrage of the entire House over the "spine-chilling" incident and asked the government to take strong action in the matter. In both Houses, women members took the lead in expressing outrage and demanding action. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice and question hour could not take place because the entire opposition wanted to discuss the issue of safety of women in the capital.
Like Swaraj, many members in the Rajya Sabha including the BJP's Najma Heptullah, AIADMK's V Maitreyan and DMK's Vasanthi Stanley demanded death penalty for rapists. "Death penalty is the only punishment we should give," Heptullah said. BJP's Ram Jethmalani created a flutter as he called the Delhi police commissioner the "most notorious criminal" in the city and called for his removal.
"The crime situation in Delhi will not improve, unless you don't remove the most notorious criminal of the city, and that is the present police commissioner in Delhi," he said. The discussion took political overtones on many occasions. BJP's Venkaiah Naidu slammed the government and said that such "shameful" things are happening "under the nose" of the government, when Parliament is in session.
Congress' Renuka Choudhary, who got into a spat with BJP MPs as she was interrupted, said, "I am not here to defend the government.. We will not allow this incident to become a statistic." Calling it a terrible atrocity, she appealed to all women MPs to meet the home minister and the Delhi chief minister to chalk out a plan. BSP chief Mayawati called for strict action against the accused saying "just catching them will not help".