New Delhi, Apr 21 (PTI) DCW chief Swati Maliwal announced she will end her fast tomorrow as the Union Cabinet today approved an ordinance to give stringent punishment, including the death penalty, to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years.
“The prime minister listened to our demands and the demands of the country. So I have decided to end my fast at 2 pm tomorrow,” Maliwal told her supporters this evening at the fast venue at Rajghat in New Delhi.
“I am thankful to the prime minister for bringing this ordinance. I congratulate the people of this country for this victory,” the Delhi Commission for Women chairperson added.
Today was the ninth day of her hunger strike.
Earlier today, Maliwal had tweeted she won’t end her fast until “something concrete happens” to ensure safety of the girl child.
“I will continue the fast until the ordinance is passed. Also police resources and accountability needs to be increased. Really sad that some channels are playing false news that I have broken the fast. Praying to all news channels conscience to kindly not report fake news,” she had said.
Yesterday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged her to end the fast, but she said will continue to fast until all her demands were met.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maliwal had mentioned her six demands, which included the passage of the ordinance, recruitment of police personnel as per the United Nations standards and fixing accountability of the police force.
She had sought that files relating to the recruitment of 14,000 police personnel – approved by the Home Ministry but pending with the Finance Ministry – be cleared.
She had demanded setting up of fast-track courts across India to try rape cases, and the constitution of a high-level committee, comprising the home minister, the lt governor and the Delhi chief minister, to review issues related to the safety of women in the national capital.
Yesterday, she wrote to the Union Finance Ministry, seeking to know the details of the action taken on proposals received since 2005 to boost the capacity of the Delhi Police.
Stating that Delhi reports three child rape cases everyday, Maliwal said a major impediment in ensuring speedy justice in these cases is the time taken by the police in investigation.
“While the acute shortage of staff felt by the Delhi Police itself may or may not seem urgent on files but at the grassroots, it’s having a dangerous effect,” she said in the letter.
A group of activists urged Maliwal to end her fast and reconsider her demand for the death penalty for rape of minors. The activists said there is no evidence to suggest the capital punishment acts as a deterrent to stop such crimes.
Amid a nationwide outrage over cases of sexual assault on girls and women in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, in Surat in Gujarat and in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, the Cabinet today approved an ordinance to provide stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years.
The ordinance will be promulgated after the presidential assent.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.