Nationwide outrage over Mumbai gang rape
The gang rape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai triggered an avalanche of outrage across the country on Friday and condemned as despicable and shameful stirring memories of a similar attack last December in New Delhi that led to nationwide protests.
As people from all walks of life voiced their anguish, political parties, media associations and Bollywood were one in demanding harshest punishment to the perpetrators of the crime in a city which is seen as far safer for women than the national capital,
The attack also had its echo in Rajya Sabha which erupted in anger with agitated members expressing serious concern over increasing atrocities on women and the government assuring "harshest" action against the culprits.
Union law minister Kapil Sibal said sex assaults must be dealt with "in the severest manner".
"We cannot afford to let our women and children live in insecurity and must make sure that such attacks against women are dealt in the severest manner," he said.
Hundreds of people including members of several journalists' associations gathered in south Mumbai to stage a silent protest. Some wore black armbands, while others carried placards reading "stop rape" and "city of shame."
Media associations in Chennai said the "horrifying incident" has shocked the entire country once again raising the issue of safety of women.
Some even sniped at the Union ministry of home affairs and its equivalent in Maharashtra for failing to enhance the safety of women in the country since the Delhi gang-rape incident last December and after enactment of new laws.
BJP's Smriti Irani while raising the issue during zero hour in Rajya Sabha asked what steps had been initiated to prevent recurrence of such incidents even after repeated assurances of improving law and order condition in the aftermath of Delhi gang rape and targeted the Centre and the Maharashtra government.
Twitter was also abuzz with rage over the gang rape.
"Despicable! We are shamed! How long & God forbid, how many more before the criminals are punished? Wake up, India!" tweeted BJP spokeswoman Nirmala Sitharaman.
"helpless to say the least...words like "devastated".."disgusted" mean nothing at a timelike this!!!! #gangerape in my city...I feel ashamed," lamented producer-director Karan Johar on Twitter.
Kiran Bedi, former IPS officer tweeted, "Another shame!A photo journ gang-raped by 5 men in Mumbai.No wonder India is considered most unsafe place for women amongst G-30 countries."
"... thousands of women aren't safe in a country that demands of them patriotism, sacrifices and taxes," said one tweet. Some said legislations are merely not enough.
"If punishment is strict, rape incidents can be avoided," said a Jadavpur University student, while a Bhopal housewife said women and even shcool girls are not safe anymore.
Centre seeks report from Mumbai police
Terming as "extremely tragic and unfortunate" the gang rape of a 23-year-old photojournalist, the Centre on Friday said it has sought a detailed report from Mumbai police on the incident.
"First of all, what happened in Mumbai is a matter concerning that state. In spite of that, I have spoken to the Mumbai Police Commissioner. The investigation is progressing," home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters outside Parliament House.
Minister of state for home RPN Singh said the Home Ministry has sought a detailed report from the Mumbai police.
"It is an extremely tragic and unfortunate incident that has happened in Mumbai. We have asked for a detailed report from the Mumbai police. We have also asked the Mumbai police to take immediate action ... to arrest the accused. Harshest punishment should be meted out to these people," he said.
The 23-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped by five men in Parel area in central Mumbai last night.
The incident took place at around 8 pm near Shakti Mills in Lower Parel area when the victim, working with an English magazine, was on an assignment, doing a story on "chawl", police said.
In a chilling reminder of the December gang rape in Delhi, the men tied up the victim's friend and raped the woman.
In a statement given to police, the girl said the five goons were present in the Shakti Mills compound. They started making lewd remarks and harassed her. When her friend intervened, two of them assaulted him. Three others took the woman inside the dilapidated structure and raped her.