India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to the nation this morning, in the wake of the protests that followed the gang rape of a young girl last week in the Capital. It was the kind of wimpy statement that the nation has come to associate with the man, skirting the real issues for platitudes and prayers. Here’s what he should have said in his speech.
My dear fellow Indians:
Like you, I am aghast and upset by the gang rape of a young girl last week and the brutal way in which the police have responded to protests against the assault.
We are convening an emergency session of Parliament to pass a new and more stringent law that will cover all aspects of violence against women—from eve teasing and rape to dowry deaths and domestic violence. We are also setting up special police cells to investigate these crimes and special fast-track courts that will hear these cases. These courts will work seven days a week, and 365 days a year. The law will be in place by 7 January and the cells and courts by 31 January.
We are also dismissing the commissioner of New Delhi police for his dealing of the situation and I have asked for the resignation of the Union home minister and his minister of state. I shall be personally handling these ministries.
I am also speaking to the chief ministers of the states and asking them to join a special committee headed by me that will address the issue of violence against women across India. In addition to me, the committee will also have as members, the leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and the presidents of all registered political parties. My office will present the scope and ambit of this committee to all of you by 15 January.
My prayers are with the victim of the gang rape who is fighting for her life and my apologies are with those who have been affected by the police action against the protesters. I have instructed that all traffic restrictions in and around India Gate be relaxed with immediate effect.