“I am thankful for not having a daughter since this is not a country that is safe for women,” said Nita Sharma (64), who sat with Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal as she began an indefinite hunger strike Tuesday against recent incidents of rape in the country.
Hundreds of women sat outside Jantar Mantar to protest against incidents of rape in Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. The protesters, some of whom took time off from school or work, demanded security and prompt action in rape cases. The protest later shifted to Samta Sthal, Rajghat.
“I read the papers every day and it depresses me. Cases of rape and murder are horrifying,” said Class XII student Isha Jaiswal.
Maliwal, meanwhile, alleged police didn’t let her use a stage or proper mic arrangements. “I want the PM to give capital punishment to rapists… Last year, when I sat on a protest, the government made a law that they’ll award capital punishment to offenders who rape minors. But we see no such change in the execution. We need better infrastructure… There are only 66,000 policemen and 45 fast-track courts in Delhi. This is not enough.”
Police said Maliwal did not inform them of details of the protest. According to SC guidelines, nobody is allowed to protest outside Jantar Mantar after 5 pm.
DCP, PRO, Mandeep Singh Randhawa said police had urged Maliwal and other protesters to stop their strike.
Anu Dubey (23), who held a solitary protest three days ago outside Parliament and was detained briefly, was among the protesters: “Someone needs to take responsibility… These incidents can be stopped if we teach society and police to be alert and help women.”