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Home ministry orders database of rapists

New Delhi, Dec. 27: The home ministry today said names, addresses and photographs of convicted rapists would soon be uploaded on its website, coming closest yet to meeting the demands of some of the protesters who have called for public hanging of offenders.

Junior minister R.P.N. Singh said he had directed the National Crime Records Bureau to prepare a directory of all rape convicts across the country.

“We are planning to start it in Delhi. Photographs, names and addresses of the rapists will be uploaded on the Delhi police website also,” he told reporters here.

The announcement, 11 days after the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old trainee paramedic, came on a day police stopped around 400 people, mostly women activists and girls, from marching to India Gate, the epicentre of the anti-rape protests over the weekend.

The decision to make all details of a convicted rapist public appears, at least partially, in line with the demands of the protesters, who have called for punishments ranging from chemical castration to public hanging.

According to figures available, the number of rapes in Delhi has increased to 661 this year from 564 in 2011. Between 2007 and 2011, the country has seen an overall increase in the number of rapes by over 20 per cent, from 20,737 to 24,206, according to NCRB data.

Yet, conviction rates in all crimes against women, including rape, are abysmally low. The national average for rape conviction is 27.7 per cent. For crimes against women in general, it is 26.4 per cent.

The government yesterday set up a commission of inquiry to identify the lapses that may have led to the December 16 gang rape and “fix responsibility”. The Centre has also formed a committee of jurists to suggest amendments to speed up trial and enhance punishment in cases of sexual assault.

The activists and the girls had set off this morning from Nizamuddin, south-east Delhi, and had planned to march to India Gate, but were stopped about 3km from the iconic site.

The protesters were demanding stringent punishment for rape, a special session of Parliament for enacting tougher laws against sexual offences and better security for women.

They also demanded that Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar be sacked and that fast-track courts take up an estimated one lakh pending rape cases.

A large number of policemen, deployed on all roads in central Delhi leading to India Gate, stopped the march as prohibitory orders are still in force on Rajpath and at India Gate following Sunday’s violence.

Many of the protesters later marched to Jantar Mantar and shouted slogans against the controversial comments of President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit.

“It’s more sickening because it comes from a member of the Parliament. He should immediately resign,” said Shalini Singh, a first-year student of Delhi University.