Delhi rape shakes Parliament, several MPs seek death penalty

Jaya Bachchan breaks down

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde Tuesday announced a special task force headed by the Union home secretary to look into the safety of women in Delhi and 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 in the city.

Several MPs even demanded the death penalty for those committing such crimes.

Shinde said Sunday's rape case would be tried by a fast-track court and promised an inquiry and strict action if there were any lapses by the police.

The discussion in the Rajya Sabha saw an emotional outburst by actor-turned-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 has 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.

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 the 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.

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