Categorized | South Asian Politics

Mumbai gang rape raises concerns over women safety yet again

Posted on 28 August 2013 by admin

Divya Kaeley

“We cannot afford to let our women and children live in insecurity and must make sure that such attacks against women are dealt in the severest manner.” – Kapil Sibal

 The gang-rape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai triggered an avalanche of outrage across the country on Friday and condemned as despicable and shameful stirring memories of a similar attack last December in New Delhi that led to nation-wide protests.

As people from all walks of life voiced their anguish, Political parties, media associations and Bollywood were one in demanding harshest punishment to the perpetrators of the crime in a city which is seen as far safer for women than the national capital, The attack also had its echo in Rajya Sabha which erupted in anger with agitated members expressing serious concern over increasing atrocities on women and the government assuring “harshest” action against the culprits.

Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal said sex assaults must be dealt with “in the severest manner”.”We cannot afford to let our women and children live in insecurity and must make sure that such attacks against women are dealt in the severest manner,” he said.

Hundreds of people including members of several journalists’ associations gathered in south Mumbai to stage a silent protest. Some wore black armbands, while others carried placards reading “Stop rape” and “City of shame.” Media associations in Chennai said the “horrifying incident” has shocked the entire country once again raising the issue of safety of women.

The Mumbai gang-rape victim underwent surgery on Friday and is stable, doctors have said. According to a spokesperson of the Jaslok Hospital where the woman photojournalist is admitted, the victim is able to speak but is still in a state of mental shock.
The photojournalist was brutally gang-raped yesterday inside the deserted Shakti Mills Compound in Mahalaxmi by five men one of whom has been arrested and the other four identified. Her male friend was tied up when she was gang-raped.

But at a time when the whole nation is raging over the brutal gang-rape of a woman photojournalist in Mumbai, a Samajwadi Party leader on Saturday came up with a bizzare approach to stop such heinous incidents. Underlining that there was a need to change mindset of the society, Naresh Agarwal said education and attention to what clothes are worn are also important. Reacting to Agarwal’s comment, Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar said that men advise women what to wear. “Our men wear what they want but advise women what to wear,” said Babbar.

The outrage over the Mumbai gang-rape resonated in Lok Sabha on Saturday with members voicing concern that such incidents continue despite laws being made stringent, a view shared by the government. As members from various parties expressed anguish, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said a report has been sought from the state government on the incident and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will make a statement in the House on Monday. Nath said despite stringent laws, such crimes continued to take place. Congress president Sonia Gandhi too on Saturday expressed anguish over the gruesome gang-rape of the 23-year-old photojournalist.

Media persons on Saturday held a sit-in protest here condemning the gangrape of a photojournalist in Mumbai and demanded speedy justice for the victim. Scribes from both print and electronic media, camera persons, photojournalists as well as some senior editors joined the protest held near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Income-Tax cross roads here. The protesters displayed placards and banners demanding that the culprits be brought to book immediately.

Many students from different journalism schools and members of Gujarat Media Club also participated in the dharna.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Police is set to leave for Ahmedabad to interrogate self-styled godman Asaram Bapu after another team, which had been sent to Chhindwara Gurukul where the girl, who has accused him of sexual exploitation, has been studying, gathered some vital evidences. “We have got some vital evidences from the Gurukul and now we are planning to send the team to Ahmedabad to interrogate Bapu. He may be brought here,” said a police official, adding that it is not yet confirmed that when this team would leave.

“It may be on Sunday after the team from Chhindwara is back,” the official reportedly told media.
Till now, the police has verified that the victim and her parents along with Bapu were present in the ashram on August 14 and 15 and the spiritual guru had left the ashram on August 16.

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