After a series of horrific attacks on young girls, Swati Maliwal, the head of Delhi’s Commission for Women (DCW) is still adamant on continuing with her indefinite hunger strike to push for stricter laws for rape in India, including the death penalty within six months.
Maliwal has been sitting on indefinite hunger strike for last nine days, with her five demands including conducting of hearing in a time-bound manner and death sentence for rape crimes against children.
Swati’s five points demand list includes:
(1) The provision of death sentence for the rapists of children within six months.
(2) The trial of women’s sexual harassment cases should be completed in six months and the guilty should be given a strict punishment.
(3) Accountability of the country and Delhi Police should be decided and arranged with their digitization and arrangement of a modern software.
(4) A proper arrangement of police personnel in the country should be made and the demands of 66,000 new policemen by the Delhi Police are met.
(5) The number of fast track courts are increased.
Speaking exclusively to Janta Ka Reporter, Maliwal said, “It is really shameful and this is not about any particular party. This is the problem with everyone. During the Nirbhaya case, Congress was in power, they were silent and the BJP was protesting. Now, BJP is in power and they are silent, while the Congress is protesting. No one is serious about women’s safety in India.”
“66000 policemen are required in Delhi Police. We’ve been literally begging, but still they (government) don’t provide. And not only Delhi, this is the situation of the whole nation. Children are being raped, evil deeds are being done. Kathua case and the cries of that little girl have shaken us. So now, this (hunger strike) is going to be indefinite. I request you all, please come and support us” Maliwal added.
Kathua gang-rape and murder case has shaken the collective conscience of people globally. What has come as a huge shock is that, for the first time in any civilised democracy, the rapists and murderers have found support from the ruling political class, the BJP in this case. Two BJP ministers had even attended a protest rally, taken out in support of the rapists and murderers of the 8-year-old Kashmiri girl. Both had to resign only when the global condemnation began to pour in.
Lawyers in Kathua had prevented the Crime Branch officials from entering the court’s premises to file the charge-sheet against the accused. The Kathua Bar Association had even called for a one-day bandh in support of the rapists and murderers of the 8-year-old child.
Maliwal said that the licences of these lawyers ought to have been cancelled. She said, “This is the most disgusting thing. The licenses of such lawyers should be cancelled. They are not fit to be lawyers.”
Maliwal also expressed her disgust on the indifference shown by the National Commission for Women, a national women’s body, adding that the NCW chief should resign on moral grounds.
“DCW doesn’t require NCW’s support. NCW should’ve stood for the victims of Kathua and Unnao. It should’ve stood for their families. I think they (NCW chief and other key officials) should resign, they aren’t fit for their job.”
Faced with nationwide angry protests, the Centre’s Narendra Modi government on Friday was forced to announce that it was bringing in an ordinance to change the existing rape laws. The Central government submitted a letter to the Supreme Court of India agreeing to change the laws to incorporate capital punishment for persons convicted of raping girls below 12 years of age.
Even after the Centre willing to amend the rape laws and POSCO act, Maliwal said she was not going to end her hunger strike. She even turned down the request of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who asked her to end her hunger strike in view of the Centre agreeing to bring in an ordinance. Maliwal said, “I’m on indefinitive hunger strike and won’t end it till all my demands are met.”
“My demand for capital punishment for rapists within six months is yet to be met. I will not end the fast until it is met. It is not just my battle, but the battle of every Indian woman” she added.