Arvind Kejriwal vows to amend law to ensure death penalty for minors' rapists
New Delhi, Apr 15: Amid the outcry over Kathua and Unnao rape cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said his government would amend the law to secure death penalty for the rapists of minor girls. While vowing to take the legislative measure during the next assembly session, Kejriwal also said he would also set up fast-track courts to complete the trial of the cases of crime against women in six months.
The chief minister, however, lamented that like Delhi government, its Vidhan Sabha too was "just a quarter of an assembly" as all bills passed by it required the Centre's approval. Kejriwal also launched a sharp attack on the BJP over the Unnao and Kathua rape cases, saying a dangerous message was being relayed that if the accused belonged to the party ruling at the Centre, the entire machinery would step in to shield him.
"In the last three years, the legislations which were passed and forwarded to the Centre, none of them have been approved. We will forward even these amendments to the Centre and I appeal to the Union government to pass them so that they can be implemented for safety and speedy justice to women," he said. Kejriwal was speaking at Rajghat where DCW chief Swati Maliwal has been sitting on a hunger strike since Friday, demanding provisions for swift capital punishment to those found guilty of raping minors.
Kejriwal also appealed to the Delhi High Court to provide him the number of fast track courts and judges needed for the completion of trial of all cases of crime against women within six months and promised to provide the requisite fund for the purpose.
"We want women safe," he said, adding he had also written to the high court in this regard in the past. 'We will bring amendments in the IPC and CrPC during the next assembly session to ensure death penalty for those found guilty of raping minors and (set up) fast track courts so that trials get over in six months," he said.
"As CM, I am worried about the safety of women in Delhi. As an Indian, I am worried about the safety of women in my country. I am participating in this protest today to demand a system, which ensures their safety," he said. Referring to the Unnao rape case involving a BJP MLA as the key accused, Kejriwal said no FIR was registered for several months in the case and "leave aside arresting the culprits, the victim's father was arrested and murdered in custody."
Attacking the BJP, he said it gives "a very dangerous message" the way the entire UP government, the chief minister, the Centre and the police tried to shield the accused MLA. "It gives a very dangerous message that if a BJP MLA rapes someone, nothing will happen to him," he said. Referring to the Kathua episode to further attack the BJP, he said a holy place of worship has been "defiled" and "what a shame" it was that they call themselves "Hindus." He said two BJP ministers of the state even participated in demonstrations and protests held in support of the culprits. "We and the entire country are ashamed.... This political patronage is dangerous."
The chief minister also urged citizens to take a day off and support the DCW chief in her indefinite hunger strike at Rajghat. "It is not her cause. She is fighting for the safety of women in my family and your family. I am going there to participate, not to offer support for her cause. You should also take a day off from your work and participate. Everyone should participate," he tweeted.
Maliwal again attacked the prime minister, saying she did not expect only speeches on social values from the prime ministers but what she wanted was the real action, concrete steps to ensure women's safety. "I have great respect for the prime minister. And if prime minister can implement Demonisation within single night then, of course, he can give system to the country to ensure women's safety," she said.
DCW chief Swati Maliwal again reiterated her statement that she would not break her fast until PM gave a proper system to country to prevent rapes. CPI national Secretary Atul Anjan also reached at the hunger-strike venue to extend his support to Maliwal. People from transgender community too reached there to express solidarity with Maliwal.