DCW chief Swati Maliwal to end fast after Union Cabinet confirms death penalty to child rapists

DCW chief Swati Maliwal today agreed to end her indefinite fast after Centre gave its nod to an ordinance to amend the POSCO Act.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal to end fast after Union Cabinet confirms death penalty to child rapists

New Delhi: Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal, who has been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding death for rapists of minors, has agreed to end her agitation on Sunday. Maliwal will reportedly end her fast at 2 pm on Sunday.

"I'm ending the fast, but the struggle will go on," the Aam Aadmi Party leader said while announcing her decision. 

Today was the ninth day of her indefinite hunger strike to press the Union government to bring an ordinance to ensure stringent punishment for those convicted of raping minors.

Addressing a gathering of her supporters she said that she would continue her fast till the time an ordinance on the death penalty for rapists of children below the age of 12 is not promulgated.

Importantly, the Union Cabinet on Saturday gave its nod to an ordinance to amend the existing POSCO Act for making heinous crimes such as rape against minors punishable with death.  

Maliwal began her fast on April 13 in the wake of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua in January and other similar crime elsewhere.

Welcoming the Cabinet's decision to approve the ordinance, Maliwal, said, "Until something concrete happens, I will not give up. Until a system is there to ensure safety of the last girl, I won't give up." 

"When the Prime Minister can suddenly bring an ordinance without anybody knowing about it, when he can implement such a big project, then why can't he do these few things? Till the time these are not done, my fast will not end," she said and demanded the ordinance be immediately issued.

"I am happy that though, after nine days, the central government has taken the first step to (propose) death to rapists of small children within six months," she said and also appreciated the Centre's plan to increase the number of fast-track courts in the country to help avoid delay in justice in such cases.

However, Maliwal wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday on her other demands. 

She said that just changing the law was not enough, its implementation was more important. Even more important was raising police resources and their accountability, she added.

"If police resources and their accountability is not increased, then do whatever, rapes will not stop," Maliwal said, adding that it was the Prime Minister's duty to determine police resources and accountability.

She said for the last 10 years, Delhi Police has been demanding 66,000 police personnel but nothing had happened till date. The direct impact of this is borne by the public, she said. 

Police are only able to do VIP duties, not of the public and most police stations have less than half of the required strength, the DCW chief said.

(With IANS inputs)