BJP slams Congress over gang-rape victim’s quiet cremation

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday slammed the secrecy surrounding the cremation of the Dec 16 gang-rape victim while the Congress said it was held quietly in accordance with the wishes of the young woman’s family.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj attacked the government for conducting the cremation in “secrecy” and reiterated her party’s demand for a special session of parliament.

“We have said we will not celebrate the New Year. But not celebrating will not be enough. This year (2013) should be dedicated for safety of women. Even if they (government) don’t call a special session, the budget session should be used for amending all laws for protecting women,” said Swaraj.

“If we can do all this in 2013, I will say (the victim’s) sacrifice is not wasted. That will be the real tribute,” she said at a condolence meeting organised by the BJP for the gang-rape victim in the capital.

“Whether it is in the special session or budget session, some days should be dedicated completely to make laws on crimes against women more stringent,” she said.

The Congress denied the allegations.

“Nothing was done without the consent of the family, and their wish for privacy. They wanted it,” said Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury here.

Addressing a news conference, Chowdhury said the quiet cremation, held at 7.30 a.m. Sunday, a few hours after the body was brought here from Singapore, was “what the family wanted… and we must respect that. There is no question of it being done secretly”.

She added that the country must “collectively work” to make society safer for women. “We need to sensitise society, the media, citizens, the government; all need to play a collective role for zero tolerance for such crimes.”

The 23-year-old woman, who was gang-raped in a moving bus here Dec 16, died in a Singapore hospital early Saturday. Her body was flown to India at 3.30 a.m. Sunday and the cremation was held within a few hours.