Hearing stories of rape victims, Verma panel members wept

FP

The panel chose not to heed to the clamour for sentencing rapists to death following strong opposition to it by women's organisations, with most women's rights activists favouring imprisonment for 14 years as punishment.

"During our discussions, we came very close to looking at death. But, there was substantial opinion from the women's organisations," the former solicitor-general said.

Subramanium also said that 63 years after India became a republic, it was "shameful and distressing" that women don't feel secure enough to walk alone in the streets. "Sometimes I wonder what kind of modern, powerful nation we talk about? I think we must openly acknowledge that we have failed the women. Aren't their rights guaranteed under the constitution? Are they lesser citizens than their male counterparts? Despite so many laws, I feel we have failed women," he said.

"While taking to the women, we realised the biases that our women have to undergo on a daily basis, starting with the bias against being born a girl to being held responsible for being molested or abused. It is invariably held to be the woman's fault. Why should we have such a situation?" he asked.

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