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N-E in ‘death’ cry for rapists

Shillong/Guwahati, Dec. 19: The women’s wing of the Congress in Meghalaya and Assam today strongly condemned the gangrape in New Delhi and demanded death sentence for the accused as a strong deterrent for perpetrators of crimes against women.

“Death sentence will be the greatest deterrent as fear has to be instilled in the minds of those prowling to commit heinous crimes like rape,” Cathleen Marbaniang, general secretary of Meghalaya Mahila Congress Committee, told reporters in Shillong this evening.

The Assam Pradesh Mahila Congress also demanded “exemplary” punishment for the accused at a news meet held at Rajiv Bhawan in Guwahati this afternoon.

The reactions come a day after AICC president Sonia Gandhi called for “universal condemnation” of and “immediate action” in the case of the gangrape of a woman inside a moving private bus in New Delhi on Sunday night.

The Meghalaya Mahila Congress Committee also demanded death sentence for those involved in the alleged rape of an 18-year-old at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills on December 13 night. It demanded fast track courts for trial of rape cases to ensure speedy justice to victims and counselling centres to help victims and their families.

East Garo Hills police have so far apprehended 15 of the 16 accused. At least half of these alleged culprits are juveniles. But the police are yet to ascertain how many of the 16 were perpetrators of the crime, sources said, adding that action would also be taken against abettors to the crime.

The committee members will meet chief minister Mukul Sangma to present a charter of demands to tackle rape cases in the state.

The Assam Pradesh Mahila Congress appealed to both Delhi and Dispur to take adequate and appropriate steps to prevent a repeat of such “inhuman” acts.

Arnapurna Barpatragohain, a vice-president of the state unit, called for swift steps against the guilty so that it serves as a “deterrent” to those “sick in the mind”.

General secretary Deepa Hazarika demanded that the guilty be handed death sentence and urged Dispur to take all possible steps to make the streets safer for women She recalled the GS Road molestation case, which had sparked off national outrage just like the gangrape case, to drive home her point.

A few members sat with placards condemning the incident and demanding immediate punishment for the perpetrators of the crime.

The protests, sources said, was triggered by Sonia Gandhi’s strong reaction to the incident. In a letter to Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Sonia had written, “It’s a shame for all of us who are responsible for security of our cities. This monstrous crime deserves not only universal condemnation but also the government’s most urgent attention.”