New Delhi: Delhi is not safe for women of any age -- infants, kids or elderly. This was the refrain of women members in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday while expressing indignation over Sunday night's incident when a 23-year-old girl was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus.

The members, in chorus, vociferously demanded capital punishment and filing of murder charges against perpetrators of such heinous crime.

Cinestar-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan broke down, saying she was "terribly disturbed" and "shocked".

Bachchan, who has been wanting to speak on women's safety issue for last few days, was on her feet to raise the gang-rape issue as soon as the House met for the day.

She kept standing for a long time demanding suspension of Question Hour to take up the issue of safety of women. "I am deeply disturbed," she said.

After the Question Hour, she was allowed by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to speak after intervention of Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and another BJP member Avinash Khanna.

"I am very ashamed that I am sitting in this House," Bachchan said and sought to know from Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde whether the government was sensitive enough to have expressed its sympathy to the family of the girl who has been left with a scar for life.

Shinde was present in the House.

An act of sexual assault should be treated on par with murder and section 307 of IPC be amended to include rape under it, she demanded.

Maya Singh (BJP) termed the incident as the "ultimate brutality" and said it showed that law is in the hands of goons in Delhi as the hapless girl was gangraped for 90 minutes in a moving bus not in any forest area but posh localities like Vasant Vihar in South Delhi.

"This is not the solitary case...women are not safe in Delhi, an infant of even six years is not safe here, elderly women are not safe here," Maya Singh said, demanding stringent punishment for those guilty of committing the barbaric act.

"The incident has left an indelible scar on the psyche of the girl, badly wounded and battling for life. Even if she survives, rest of her life will be like hell," she said.

Singh wanted to know from the Home Minister whether he will take responsibility himself or Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will be responsible for it.

Renuka Chowdhury (Cong) said the terrible atrocity committed on the young girl cannot be "compensated by cash". Underlining that it is the "business" of police to instill confidence among citizens, she wanted to know how the perpetrators of such crime "get away with the cowardice act".

She called upon all women members to collectively meet the Home Minister, Commissioner of Police, Chief Minister of Delhi and top officials to find out their "action plan" to check such incidents.

"Each incident on its own carries the tragedy of failure. Police are supposed to build confidence... How come these individuals commit the crime and think they can get away with that," she said.

Mayawati (BSP) said there was need to amend the existing laws to deliver severe punishment to the culprits but Delhi Police should ensure stringent action against the guilty.

"Nothing will happen only by arresting the perpetrators. Give them stringent punishment," she said.

DMK MP Vasanthi Stanley sought death penalty for the perpetrators of such crime and quoted Mahatma Gandhi as saying "If a woman clad in gold can move freely then we can consider that women have attained real freedom".

"Culprits should be hanged to death," she said lamenting that India ranked with Afghanistan, Congo and Somali among nations not considered safe for women.

Najma Heptulla (BJP) said, "This is not the time to make speeches. This is time when action is taken. We have a lot of expectation from the Home Minister. Death penalty is the only punishment that is to be taken. We should pass a law" that serves as an exemplary to scare such people indulging in such crime.

Prabha Thakur (Cong) said criminals virtually ruled the capital and culprits no longer fear from indulging in such incidents.

She questioned the government as to how many culprits were punished and how many police officials terminated while demanding action in the present case within a month.

"Women are not safe anywhere and at any age," she said, seeking punishment like that in the Middle East and China.

T N Seema (CPI-M) said no woman is safe in the national capital irrespective of her age and sought speedy justice to the victim and exemplary punishment to the culprits.

"We want strict action, we want immediate action and we want an assurance," she said demanding that DTC and other buses should have CCTV cameras installed as a pre-condition before getting licenses.

Smriti Irani (BJP) expressed anguish over the incident saying virtually no law and order existed in Delhi and demanded that the culprits be booked immediately.

"The truth is that those criminals in Delhi are not worried about law," she said, adding that there has been an increase of 120 percent in cases of sexual harassment in Delhi.

She regretted that despite a proposal for installing CCTV cameras in buses in Delhi, the step has not been implemented.

Urging Shinde to initiate steps to ensure safety of women, she said, "I request the Home Minister not to limit the government action just to making a statement." Vijaylakshmi Sadho (Cong) said, "We are ashamed of this incident. We must rise above dirty politics and find a solution to such a serious issue."

Gundu Sudha Rani (TDP) said she felt sorry that such an incident had happened in a country where women are worshipped and lamented that Delhi was becoming the rape capital of the country.

She called for setting up of special courts to hear such cases and ensure their time-bound disposal.

Mohsina Kidwai (Cong) said such incidents showed that men were behaving worse than animals and sought inculcating good moral values among children for sound character.

"It is not an attempt to murder. It is murder. Today's laws are not enough...Special courts should be set up and there should be exemplary punishment," she said.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj made a strong pitch for capital punishment for such crimes, a demand which did not find favour with Girija Vyas (Cong), who said such a penalty would lead to killing of women after rape.

(Agencies)

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