The Election Commission Monday issued a notice to chief electoral officer (CEO) of Punjab over a district poll panel allegedly putting up picture of a 2012 Delhi gang rape convict on a hoarding that seeks to encourage people to vote. The EC action came hours after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued it a notice over the hoarding up by the Hoshiarpur district election office.
The EC has now sought a report from the Punjab CEO by Tuesday morning, sources said.
On December 16, 2012, six men assaulted and raped a 23-year-old paramedic student in a moving bus in Delhi and a fortnight later, she succumbed in a Singapore hospital.
The victim’s mother apprised DCW chief Swati Maliwal that a picture was being circulated on social media wherein Mukesh Singh, a convict in the rape case, was displayed on official hoardings in Punjab.
“This is a matter of great shame as it is a clear incident of glorification of rape convict. The matter has caused great pain and hurt not only to the parents of the victim but also to all victims of sexual violence,” Maliwal said in the notice.
Seeking “strictest of actions” against those “responsible for this act”, Maliwal asked the EC to fix accountability of officers.
“The commission has sought the names of the officers responsible for the act and details of the action that has been taken against them. It has also sought the steps that shall be taken by the EC to ensure such incidents do not occur in the future,” Maliwal said.
The DCW chairperson said instead of ensuring that the rape convict was given death penalty as ordered by the Supreme Court, government agencies are “glorifying” him.
“The convict whose photo has been displayed on advertising boards played a major role in the December 2012 gang rape of Nirbhaya. In fact, he has even been heard stating on record that women invite rape. Is he a model citizen that his photo should be publicised?” Maliwal said, adding she met Nirbhaya’s mother, who was “in tremendous pain”.
Terming it an attack “most brutal, barbaric and diabolical”, the Supreme Court in 2017, upheld the death sentence for four men convicted of the savage rape and murder of the young woman who came to be known by an outraged nation as “Nirbhaya”, the fearless. One of the accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail here, while a minor, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board.
He was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
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