Thiruvananthapuram: Expressing shock, grief and anger at the death of the Delhi gang rape victim, political parties, women outfits and cultural personalities in Kerala on Saturday demanded strong action against the culprits and took out marches across the state.
Many of them wanted the existing laws dealing with the rape cases to be amended to ensure the culprits received "the maximum punishment."
CPI(M) stalwart and former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan said he was at a loss to know how Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could continue in office after this incident which had sent shock waves among millions of women in the country.
"I am leaving this as a question mark to the Prime Minister," the octogenarian leader, who wages legal battles against sexual exploitation of women, told reporters here.
Prominent women leader of CPI (M) PK Sreemathi said the 23-year-old victim was a real martyr who lost her life due to the negligence of authorities.
"The tragic death of the Delhi rape victim has once again showed that India is not safe for women. She should be the last in the list of many Indian women who had to shed blood for protecting her body and self-esteem. This horrendous incident is the result of the incapability of the government," Sreemathi, a central committee member of the CPI(M), told PTI.
She said delay in ensuring justice for victims was as same as denying justice.
"A central legislation should be brought in for awarding stringent punishment to the accused in this kind of brutal crimes. Fast Track courts should be set up across the country and charge sheet would be ready within two days and the verdict
pronounced within two weeks of the incident happened. No lawyer should be engaged for such culprits in courts," she said.
Leading women rights campaigner Ajitha said what was important was to enforce the present laws strictly instead of bringing in new laws. It was also vital that investigation in such cases entrusted with upright police officials.
"According to the latest statistics, in India one woman is being raped in every six minute. This is not an exaggerated figure", Ajitha told PTI.
"Tragedies like this is often used to further shackle women by our society," Ajitha, a former Naxalite, said.
In Kochi, women`s activists from various political parties took out marches expressing shock and grief over the death of the Delhi gang rape victim.
Mahila Congress workers of Ernakulam district took out a march with black bands tied around their mouths and holding placards which said `Shame of India` and `daughter, pardon us`. They took out the march from the DCC office to Mahatma Gandhi`s statue.
BJP`s Mahila Morcha took out a march to the Kerala High Court junction.