Symbolic events remembering gang rape victim stress women’s safety

New Delhi : A number of events, including a symbolic bus ride, were held in the capital Tuesday to remember the victim of the horrific gang rape on a bus two years ago, as the participants stressed the need for safety and security for women.

One factor was underlined by many people that nothing much has changed since the gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedic student in 2012.

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Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, on the sidelines of an event at Delhi University, said many steps have been taken to ensure the security of women in Delhi and there was a need for social awareness to bring an end to crimes against women.

“Delhi was ashamed when this incident took place and it continues to feel ashamed. We have taken a lesson from it. We have opened a women’s cell at every police station and also increased the number of CCTVs,” he said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet: “Nothing has changed since Nirbhaya. Women still unsafe. I firmly believe we can make Delhi safe for women. Let’s join hands to do that.”

Kejriwal also addressed an event organised by the rape victim’s family, women’s organisations and NGOs at Rajendra Bhavan to pay tribute to the Dec 16 victim.

The AAP students’ wing Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) organised a human chain at Mandi House in central Delhi calling for women’s security.

Members held placards saying nothing had changed.

The rape victim’s parents were quoted as saying that although two years have elapsed and there was massive outpouring of anger after the rape, nothing much has changed.

They also rued that their daughter has still not got justice.

The Association for Democratic Reforms said in a tweet that “while India is awaiting justice in Nirbhaya case, no. of legislators facing crimes against women is alarming”.

According to its figures, 50 legislators — a member each from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and 48 legislative assembly members — were accused of crimes against women.

Civil society organisations organised a bus ride from Dwarka to central Delhi to “put the spotlight on the current lack of safety in the daily lives of women and to make ordinary citizens participate in a greater way and take charge of their own safety”.

Centre for Social Research director Ranjana Kumari, who led the campaign, urged a formal commitment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards women’s safety.

“We request the prime minister to officially voice his concern and outline the blueprint that is formulated to address the deteriorating situation of women’s safety in India,” Kumari said.

Women’s organisations demanded that recommendations by the Justice Verma committee be implemented immediately.

“There should be transparency on the roadmap of how the Nirbhaya fund will be used for the safety and security of women. There should be a continuous check on the implementation of laws and reforms in each and every city,” the women’s organisations demanded.

Delhi BJP vice president Shikha Rai stressed the need for having civilian women staff for clerical or non-policing work in police stations in order to instill confidence among women in Delhi.

On the occasion of two years of the Nirbhaya incident, she said: “There are 184 police stations in Delhi and around 25 percent of the police force is engaged in non-policing/clerical work.

“If this work force is replaced by civilian women staff, Delhi Police could conveniently strengthen its presence on the ground. This will help in intensifying policing at vulnerable locations and strengthen law and order.”

The 23-year-old paramedic student was gang raped by six men, including a juvenile, in a bus Dec 16, 2012 in the national capital. She later succumbed to her fatal injuries in a Singapore hospital.

Four accused – Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh – were awarded the death penalty by a fast track court in 2013 which was later upheld by the Delhi High Court.

One of the six accused was found dead in a cell in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, while a juvenile involved in the gang rape was sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years, the maximum term under the juvenile law.