In Delhi, India, the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in Del sparked a debate about the treatment of women. The student was raped this past December. She was attacked after boarding a bus in south Delhi with a male friend. The police said the assailants beat both of them, and then raped the woman. She suffered massive internal injuries and died nearly two weeks later.
A commission was set up to suggest reforms to India’s rape laws. The commission has called for faster trials and longer sentences, but not the death penalty. India’s law minister promises that the report would get “government attention” soon. Furthermore, Justice Verma said the commission has received 80,000 responses from India and abroad on how to reform rape laws. Some of the recommendations were:
-broadening of the definition of what constitutes sexual assault
-more accountability for the police
-better implementation of laws and the need for a change in the mindset of law-enforcers
-strong action against those found guilty of trafficking and against security forces convicted of -sexual assault in conflict zones.
The panel also recommended that those found guilty of rape leading to death get life in prison, but it stopped short of calling for the death penalty. “What is needed to enforce laws is the sensitivity on the part of those who implement it.” “The state’s role is not just punishing criminals but also to prevent crimes against women.”
Justice Leila Seth, another member of the commission, said police “don’t take complaints of rape victims seriously”. Police often fail to file reports against attackers. “There is institutional bias against the weaker sections of society,” she said. Crimes against women are not taken as seriously as other crimes, and this needs to change.
As for the incident in early December, the trial of five men held for the crime began at a specially convened fast-track court. If convicted, the men could face the death penalty. A sixth suspect, who is only 17 years old, is expected to be tried by a juvenile court.
There are believed to be about 95,000 rape cases pending nationwide. Sometimes it takes years for these cases to go to trial in India.
Do you think the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for rape leading to death? Or rape alone? Is it too harsh? What do you think the reason is behind the police’s failure to file reports against attackers? If you were on the commission, what recommendations would you have?
Article and Picture Source: BBC NEWS