Nandita feels death sentence can't stop rapes

Mumbai, Jan 8 (IANS) Social activist and actress Nandita Das believes that death sentence cannot act as a deterrence against a crime like rape.

"I don't believe that death sentence is a solution to stop this because the conviction rate in our country is so low," the 43-year-old said here Monday at the Janki Devi Bajaj Puraskar ceremony.

Recently the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi, who died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital, shocked everyone and triggered nationwide protests demanding new law for the culprits of such crimes.

"Despite all that has been happening, there are still reports of such crimes (rapes) still happening," she said.

Nandita said there are other ways that should instead be adopted.

"In other countries such reports have been filed which state that death sentence has not lowered the graph of such crimes. In fact, the countries where such crimes happen less, they don't even have any such thing as death sentence. Such criminals should instead be brought to speedy trial, social humiliation and other such things," she suggested.

Nandita is aghast at current statements by many that hold women responsible for rapes.

"This accusation that some people have been flinging these days that these crimes and rapes happen because girls wear skirts and other such clothes is utter nonsense. If this was true, then no village woman would be raped," said Nandita who in "Bawandar" played the role of Bhanwari Devi, a low-caste woman from a village in Rajasthan who was allegedly gang-raped in 1992.

Claiming an example from her piece of work, Nandita said, "I made film 'Bawandar' on Bhanwari Devi. Even her face used to be covered, this (rape) should not have happened with her then."

"We hear of a three-year-old girl being raped. Was she found in some nightclub? We should not shame ourselves by giving such excuses," she added.

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