Stung by a spate of unprecedented rape cases across the state, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Tuesday chose to rise to the occasion seeking amendments in various rape related laws in the state.
Expressing deep concern and condemning the sudden rise in the number of rape cases in the state at a hurriedly convened press conference in Lucknow, she said, "Keeping in view incidents of rape and other crimes against women, my government has decided to effect some important amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code."
She said section 437 and 439 of the CrPC would be amended to ensure the trial is completed within six months and the cases of assault be made non-bailable. "Provision will be made that the accused does not get bail till the time he is proved innocent," she said.
The chief minister said, "We are already in the process of preparing a draft for an ordinance that would soon be sent to the governor, so that we could bring this amendment in place without any delay."
"A stricter law will definitely prevent people from attempting these kinds of heinous crimes against women and also deter anti-social elements from tormenting women," said Mayawati.
Stressing upon the need for stringent action against anti-social elements, Mayawati said, "I propose to ask my district police chiefs to prepare a list of anti-social elements, including those known for their loose character. Initially efforts will be made to mend their ways, while deterrent action will be taken against the incorrigible ones."
Giving out a list of cases where punitive action had been ordered against lax police officials who caused delays in registering cases or in initiating action against culprits, the chief minister said, "We have not spared anybody who was prima facie found guilty of laxity in handling cases of rape or other related crimes against women."
Hitting out at the opposition for flaying her government on account of the recent rape incidents, she declared 'there is no jungle raj in Uttar Pradesh and citing the recent cases of rape to give the state such a label was a motivated exercise'.
According to her 'the most glaring case was that of a minor girl's murder in Lakhimpur-Kheri, that was described as a case of rape largely because some Congress leaders were out to tarnish the image of my government'.
She claimed that at least five of the nine rape incidents reported over the past 48 hours were falsely highlighted as rape when they were actually either cases of murder or that of simple consenting partners.
Further citing reports from the National Crime Records Bureau, she pointed out how crimes in UP were being misrepresented by the opposition. "It is amply clear from the statistics provided in NCRB reports that the percentage of crime against women in proportion to UP's population was far less than most Congress and BJP ruled states," said Mayawati.
She went on to further point out that when it came to dealing with crime, she has always believed in rising above party lines. "That is why I have never hesitated in ordering the most stringent action against those found guilty of wrongs even if they belonged to my own party," she said.
Mayawati appealed to all opposition parties to rise above party lines and give up playing politics in the name of serious and sensitive issues like crimes against women.