Gang-rape: BJP, Congress lock horns over Special Session of Parliament

Amid the nationwide protest over the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl, the Bharatiya Janata Party reiterated its demand to convene a Special Session of Parliament.

New Delhi: Amid the nationwide protest over the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday reiterated its demand to convene a Special Session of Parliament and amend the laws so that the harshest punishment is given to those accused of the heinous crime.

"The government needs to come quickly with a proper structured response and to reflect upon the serious concerns of the country, it is imperative that a special session of Parliament be called at the earliest which we have been demanding for some time," BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters here.

Criticising the government for "converting Delhi into a chavni (cantonment)", he said this "unfair" act of authorities reminds of Emergency era and added that "a nation in shock is certainly entitled to display its sense of despair, anger and pain."

"...Why should Delhi be sealed like this. Why should Delhi be converted into a chavni reminding ourselves what is happened during Emergency. This is very very unfair.

"Metro trains have been closed, people cannot move. I think, a nation in shock is certainly entitled to display its sense of despair, anger and pain. Thats what democracy is about. We don`t appreciate it at all," he said.

Lashing out at the Congress-led UPA government, BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that the Centre has failed to address the people’s outrage after the horrific incident that took place on December 16.

“This is high time that the government and the whole system should ensure the people and make them believe that such crimes will not occur again in the future.”

“That’s why, we are demanding a Special Session to amend the useless and expired laws,” said Naqvi too said.

“The culprits have no fear of laws, they are moving freely and the people protesting against such crimes are afraid of police and the government. The government will have to come out with a strong political will and determination to make strong laws and ensure stringent punishment for such crimes,” he added.

The Congress Party, however, rubbishing the BJP’s demand said that the UPA Government has already constituted a high-level Committee, headed by Justice (retired) JS Verma to look into the matter, and added that a decision in this regard will be made only after the three-member committee gives its recommendations.

“It is very unfortunate that the BJP doesn’t allow Parliament to function when the session is in process, and now they are demanding a Special Session,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said.

“The government has already constituted a high-power committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Verma, which will submit its report within three months. The government will act according to their recommendations,” he added.

The Left parties and Trinamool Congress had earlier on Saturday made a similar demand of convening a special session of Parliament to enact a strong anti-rape law to ensure death sentence for those guilty of committing sexual assault against women.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, had also earlier reiterated her demand for death sentence for all those guilty in rape and murder cases.

The three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India constituted to give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases, has sought suggestions from the general public by January 05.

The committee has issued a notice seeking suggestions from the public in general, particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs, women`s groups and civil society members in a bid to provide quicker justice and stringent punishment for crimes against women.

The committee, which was constituted after public protests erupted over the Delhi gang rape case, will look into possible amendments to the criminal law for faster trial and proper punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women.

The other members of the committee, constituted by the government, are Justice (Retd) Leila Seth, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, and Gopal Subramanian, former Solicitor General of India.

The body of the 23-year-old medical student, who was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi, was flown to the national capital from Singapore early this morning and cremated within hours.