New Delhi, Dec 24: The senior-most leaders of the opposition BJP will meet today to decide the party’s strategy on the massive protests in Delhi demanding justice for the medical student who was gang-raped on a bus in the capital last weekend.
Over the weekend, the police clashed repeatedly with thousands of demonstrators, many of them students, who defied a ban to gather at India Gate.
The Prime Minister who had not addressed either the heinous gang-rape or the fury that has reverberated across the country ever since, said in a TV address today that he understands the anger of people. He appealed for calm and said the government "will examine without delay not only the responses to this terrible crime but also all aspects concerning the safety of women and children and punishment to those who commit these monstrous crimes." The BJP rejected Dr Manmohan Singh’s statement as inadequate.
"The PM finally spoke but the country didn’t get any assurances. The government is not able to understand the anger of people," said party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
The BJP has been asking for a special session of Parliament to discuss amending the law to include the death penalty for rapists; the party’s Sushma Swaraj has also suggested that the government call an urgent meet of all parties to discuss women’s safety. Both suggestions were rejected by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today.
The anger in Delhi after Amanat (NOT her real name) was inhumanely assaulted lacerated the capital over the weekend. While the police has been criticised for using water-cannons and tear-gas at this weekend’s protests, there were miscreants who infiltrated the students and set a car and wooden benches on fire. Some women protestors also complained they had been molested during the rallies.
The government has been slammed for failing to appease protesters by addressing them at their gatherings. Yesterday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul met with a group of demonstrators at her residence, and assured them that Amanat’s case will lead to a review of criminal laws. The government has said that Amanat’s case will be fast-tracked with daily hearings at a Delhi court.
PM makes fresh appeal for peace
Issuing a fresh appeal for peace, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said government will look into delay in response in the gangrape case as also all aspects concerning the security of women while asking people to desist from violence.In a televised address, Singh said he and his family join in the concern for the 23-year-old victim, who was gangraped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 night.
“As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime.”
He said the government was constantly monitoring her medical condition.
His statement came as protests, which turned violent yesterday, continued for the seventh day today.
Emphasising that anger at this crime is “justified”, Singh said, “but violence will serve no purpose.”
Singh noted that Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has already spoken about the steps being taken to address issues regarding safety of women in the country.
“We will examine into delay not only the responses to this terrible crime but also all aspects concerning the safety and security of women,” he said.
Singh broke his silence on the issue last night when he issued a similar statement saying public anger is “genuine” and “justified”.
Singh had also expressed sadness over the turn of events that led to clashes between the angry protesters and the police and appealed for peace and calm.