Rape should be treated unbailable, at par with murder:CM

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New Delhi, Aug 9 (UNI) Stressing on measures to prevent incidents of rape, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said rape should be treated as more heinous than murder and be regarded unbailable.

''Rape is not less than a murder and there is no ground to grant bail to the criminal. We need to prevent such incidents than providing cure afterwards,'' she said, after inaugurating a consultation on 'Guidelines for Managing Sexual Assault" organised by the Delhi Commission for Women in Delhi Secretariat.

Stressing on the need to change the mindset of the society towards the victims of rape, molestation and sexual assault, she said it was unfortunate that victim had to bear the stigma rather than the perpetrator. ''It is indeed a stigma on civilised society, which boasts of having rich cultural, religious and traditional values,'' she pointed out.

She said it was not enough to provide just financial assistance to the victim. ''Much more requires to be done. There was a time when such incidents were not reported due to fear of bad name in the society but today in era of media activism, it is becoming difficult to cover up such incidents,'' she said.

The Chief minister further said the Delhi Commission for Women has taken an initiative in 2005 to start Rape Crisis Cell in association with the Delhi State Home Department and Legal Services.

Police, Crisis Intervention Centres and Prosecutors were active participants in the programme. The programme offers a 24-hour legal helpline that can be accessed both by the victim and the Police to ensure that a lawyer is informed as soon as an incident of rape is reported.

Noted Actress and Chairperson, Central Board of Film Certification Sharmila Tagore, Chairperson DCW Barkha Singh, Member Secretary P M Singh, former Chief Secretary Ramesh Narayanswami, Secretary Law G P Mittal, Secretary DCW Debashree Mukherjee, Director Education Chandra Bhushan Kumar, members of the Commission and Mahila Panchayat, number of advocates, police officers, representatives of NGOs and noted social workers were present during day-long consultation where guidelines were framed and finalised.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Tagore stressed on the need for sensitising the Police and the community and favoured strict punishment to the culprits. Calling upon men to support the cause of women and help change the mindset of the people, she said, ''Together we can activate community, police, judges, women, law enforcement agencies to make them learn their responsibilities,'' she added.

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