Bhatinda rape shameful: Tirath

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Terming the Jan 18 gang-rape incident in Bhatinda in Punjab as "shameful" in which a woman was pulled into a car and held hostage, a minister here Monday advocated life imprisonment to death for the perpetrators.

"It is shameful that this is happening again and again. Despite legislation and prosecution, this is happening. We have to take strong action," Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said on the sidelines of a meet on domestic violence.

Advocating life imprisonment upto death for rapists, the minister said, the society also needs to have a proactive role in prevention of such crimes. Tirath said she has written to home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde) on the issue.

Rapists, who are sentenced to life imprisonment should not be let off after 14 years or given parole, she said, adding, her ministry will work on ensuring protection officers at the district and sub-divisional levels.

A young woman on her way to Mohali in Punjab for a job interview Jan 18 was pulled into a car by two men at a Chandigarh bus-stop. She was driven all the way to Bhatinda, 250 km away and was allegedly raped while being held hostage for two days.

The woman, who is now in a hospital in Bhatinda said in a police complaint that she was taken to a shop in the city, where she was repeatedly raped, while the men recorded the assault on a mobile phone.

She says she was then taken in the car to a secluded place and thrown out on the road. A passersby took her to a hospital.

Asked whether she agreed with the Delhi Police commissioner's view on lowering the age of juveniles, Tirath said she was against decreasing the age of juveniles from 18 years but was for strong punishment in rarest of rarest cases like the Dec 16 gang-rape incident.

"We as a society should introspect as to how we have failed our children. What kind of schools these children went to..what life they have led," she said.

The minister said that her ministry would soon be coming out with a special scheme for adolescent boys called "Saksham" under the (Integrated Child Development Services) ICDS programme.

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