Son of Indian president sorry for remarks on anti-rape protesters

2012-12-28 01:35:17 GMT2012-12-28 09:35:17(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit stoked a major controversy by describing women participating in Delhi protests against gangrape of a student as 'highly dented and painted', triggering angry backlash. 

"Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted," Abhijit Mukherjee, an MP from Jangipur seat which the President had vacated before his election, told a India media. 

As his "insensitive" remarks sparked outrage with even his sister Sharmistha expressing "utter shock and anguish" and apologizing on his behalf, Abhijit "withdrew" his comments and said they were not meant to hurt "any particular section or any particular sentiment".

But the women activists and political leaders were unimpressed after Abhijit's apology. CPM leader Brinda Karat said political leaders cannot be allowed to get away with a mere apology after making such "outrageous and highly condemnable" remarks "demeaning women" and there should be a code of conduct for elected representatives. 

Terming the remarks as unfortunate, Smriti Irani, chief of BJP' women wing, said it was especially distressing as they had come from the President's son and that too at a "challenging time" when not only women but men have come out on streets demanding justice and safer environment for women. 

(Agencies)

Six held for Dec. 24 Indian gang-rape

Six people were arrested and a hunt was on for four others over a woman's gang-rape in Tamil Nadu, police said on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old was raped on Monday near Virudhachalam town, around 230 kilometres from Chennai. The incident came to light on Tuesday evening after she lodged a complaint.

"Six people have been remanded and we are on the lookout for the remaining four," a police official in Virudhachalam said.

The 10 accused attacked and gang-raped the victim when she was talking to a male relative, police said. Her relative was tied up before the sexual assault.After the incident, she reached a bus stand from where a passerby took her to a hospital, police said.

Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has called for deterrent laws and cutting short the period of investigation in rape cases.Speaking in Chennai on Wednesday over a gang-rape in Delhi, Jayalalithaa said: "It is a shocking crime. There is no doubt that deterrent laws should be put in place and the period of investigation should be shortened so that justice is meted out swifty."

(Agencies)

India to put rapists' photos online to shame them

India has decided to post the photos, names and addresses of convicted rapists online, one of many initiatives it says it's taking to check sexual crimes against women. 

The national database of rapists will be shared on the website of the National Crime Records Bureau in a few months, said Junior Home Minister RPN Singh. He said the idea is to name and shame them and to prevent repeat occurrences. 

India has taken on the government with punishing anger since a medical student was battered with an iron rod and raped by six men on a moving bus in Delhi on December 16.  She was flown to Singapore on an air-ambulance last night.  

Thousands of students have been organising near-daily protests in Delhi and other cities. They are demanding better safety for women, tougher punishment for those found guilty of sexual assault, and a faster and more effective legal system.

The Junior Home Minister said that creating a directory of sexual offenders was one of the suggestions made by a group of students to help prevent repeat offences. The project may be test-piloted in Delhi, he said, with the details being uploaded on the Delhi Police website. The idea is for every state to make its details available via the police's website for access by the public.

For the most part, India has over the last few weeks appeared out-of-sync with the public, failing to gauge the scope of anger and frustration, and choosing not to address the thousands of students and activists who repeatedly said they were seeking a reassurance that the administration understands and accepts their concerns, and will work with them to improve the security of women. 

It took the Prime Minister eight days to comment on the student's savage assault. He said that though public anger was understandable, protesters must stay calm. 

His minute-long televised address followed a weekend of violent clashes in Delhi with the police using tear-gas, water cannons and batons against demonstrators. A constable who collapsed during the protest on Sunday died in hospital on Tuesday.

(Agencies)

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