One day after the demise of Delhi’s brave heart, 23-year-old paramedic Damini, citizens conducted a mass signature campaign at Metro Channel demanding the death sentence for the accused as well as strong anti-rape laws. Organisers claimed that the signatures and messages would be forwarded to president Pranab Mukherjee.
In the wake of the gruesome Delhi gang rape on December 16, Metro Channel has become a hub for protests in the city.
On Sunday, rights activists arranged a 50-metre flex on which citizens penned their condolences for the victim and put forth their demands.
“All-women police stations, or at least separate women’s cells in police stations, is the need of the hours. The investigating officers are not educated enough to deal with rape victims and, instead, ends up humiliating the victim. We need immediate judicial reforms and psychological counselling of rape victims,” demanded activist Santoshree Choudhury.
“This is a war against a corrupt and impotent government. I have a 15-year-old daughter and I have taught her to fight back if something goes wrong with her on the streets,” said architect Ritu Mishra.
Citizens also took out a silent march from Howrah CTC bus stand to Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road. “We need a total overhaul of the administrative system and an end to the cultural degradation that has crept into society. A complete social and legal transformation is required. We should pay attention to how our children are being brought up,” said Suraj Chokhani who participated in the march.
“Discrimination starts right at the top, with not many lady officers occupying important posts in the defence or in the bureaucracy. Women are taught not to fight back. This provides courage to the perpetrators of injustice,” said web designer Payal Garg.
Protesters made it clear that they would not settle for anything less than death penalty for the six accused and demanded that the accused be either hanged publicly, castrated of handed over to the people.
Human rights group Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) organised a protest at Manicktala on Sunday.
“We will send a deputation to the chief minister, Governor and various political parties, to ensure the henceforth, those accuse of rape are not granted bail. We will request them to make rape a strictly non-bailable offence. Rape should mandate capital punishment and amendments in law are required in this regard,” said Dayamay Biswas, CPDR president.