Crimes against women targeted in India
NEW DELHI — Indian lawmakers charged with sexual assault against women could be suspended from office if the country's top court rules in favor of a petition submitted in connection with a gang rape and murder that shocked the nation.
Six state lawmakers are facing rape prosecutions, and two national parliamentarians are facing charges of crimes against women that fall short of rape, said Jagdeep S. Chhokar, an official with the Association for Democratic Reforms, which tracks political candidate's criminal records.
The petition will be heard on Thursday and occurs as police prepare to formally charge six suspects in the gang rape and killing of a student in the capital.
The Dec. 16 rape triggered outrage across the country and sparked demands for stronger laws, tougher police action against those accused of sexual assault and a sustained campaign to change society's views on women.
As part of that campaign, Chief Justice Altamas Kabir agreed to hear a petition from retired government administrator Promilla Shanker asking the Supreme Court to suspend all lawmakers from the national and state legislatures who are charged with crimes against women.
She also asked the court to force the national government to fast-track thousands of rape cases that have languished in India's notoriously sluggish court system for years.
In the past five years, political parties across India nominated 260 candidates awaiting trial on charges of crimes against women, he said. Parties ran six candidates for the national parliamentary elections facing such charges, Chokkar said.
“We need to decriminalize politics, and surely a serious effort has to be made to stop people who have serious charges of sexual assault against them from contesting elections,” said Zoya Hasan, a political analyst.
On Wednesday morning, several thousand women held a silent march to Gandhi's memorial in the capital in memory of the victim, holding placards demanding “Respect” and “Justice.” Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit joined the women for a prayer session for the victim. The Gandhi memorial is a common protest site.
On Tuesday, the government set up a task force to monitor women's safety in New Delhi and to review whether police were properly protecting women. The government had set up two earlier bodies to look into the handling of the rape case and to suggest changes in the nation's rape laws.
The rape of the 23-year-old university student on a bus has horrified many in the country and brought unprecedented attention to the daily suffering of women here, who face everything from catcalls and groping to rapes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scots reject independence from United Kingdom in historic vote
- Ukraine’s pleas for lethal aid not heard
- 21 massacred in Mexico, witnesses say
- It’s not a small world after all: Global population estimated to soar
- Russia’s business world rattled by arrest of oil tycoon Yevtushenkov
- Blasts kill dozens in Baghdad area
- Al-Qaida’s South Asia wing claims 1st big strike
- Nations urged to follow U.S. example on Ebola
- Aid to Ukraine uncertain as its leader visits U.S.
- Qatar sends arms to opposition, Libyan prime minister says
- Diplomatic push swells against ISIS