Hunger-Striking Delhi Women's Commission Chief Urges Modi to Mandate Death Penalty for Rape Convicts

© REUTERS / ANUSHREE FADNAVISResident doctors and medical students from All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) attend a candle-lit march to protest against the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old woman on the outskirts of Hyderabad, in New Delhi, India, 3 December 2019
Resident doctors and medical students from All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) attend a candle-lit march to protest against the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old woman on the outskirts of Hyderabad, in New Delhi, India, 3 December 2019 - Sputnik International
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New Delhi (Sputnik): The head of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, has been on a hunger strike for over 12 days now, demanding that those responsible for the recent wave of rapes in the country pay with their lives.

Swati Maliwal on Saturday wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately implement the so-called Disha Bill, which mandates that those being tried for 'atrocities against women' face justice for no more than 21 days and receive the death penalty if found guilty.

In a letter, Maliwal has expressed sadness over what she has termed indifferent attitude from the central government regarding the issue of women’s safety in the country.

The letter read, "I myself am on an indefinite hunger strike demanding a fixed framework for punishment to rapists... I wrote to you on the first day of my fast, seeking immediate action on certain specific demands,”

"Amidst this gloom and shocking indifference of the central government, the Government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) has been a beacon of hope. Yesterday, the Disha Bill was passed in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly; landmark legislation to provide for all the demands that I have been making over the last 12 days," the letter read.

Listing some of the remarkable provisions under the Disha Bill, Swati Maliwal said, "The Disha Bill is a game-changer for ensuring justice in crimes against women."

On Friday, Andhra Pradesh's Disha Act was passed by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly that seeks to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure for 'heinous offences of rape' so that in the presence of 'adequate conclusive evidence', the investigation is completed within seven working days.

The new law also says trial must be completed within 14 working days, thus reducing the total judgement time to 21 working days.

Swati Maliwal lauded the decision by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to pass the Bill while condemning the Centre for not being able to take "highly critical decisions till date".

"I am also deeply saddened to note that crucial time of the Parliament of India has been wasted by out Parliamentarians in the last few days, without taking any constructive decisions to ensure the safety of women and girls in the country,” the letter read.

"Today, the lives of hundreds of our daughters and sisters are being ravaged everyday. Sexual crimes against women and girls have reached the threshold of tolerance for any sane society," she wrote.

​The letter comes amid several incidents of rape and murder in the country, which sparked protests across India, as people took to the streets to demand justice for the families of the victims.

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