Protesters meet Sonia Gandhi, Rahul who assure speedy action

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New DelhiA group of protesting youths, agitating against the gangrape of a 23-year-old, today met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi here during which the Congress top leaders assured speedy action while refusing to give a time-frame for it.

After the nearly 90-minute meeting, the protesters said demonstrations would not end, but, at the same time, appealed for calm.

The protesters, who refused to be identified, met the Gandhis at Mrs Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence where Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh and Congress leader Renuka Chaudhury also joined the discussions.

“We had a meeting with Sonia and Rahul. She heard us and told us that the government needs time to meet all demands like amending laws,” one of the protesters told reporters here.  Mrs Gandhi reportedly agreed with the protestors that women are not safe and they need better security. She told them there is a sense of insecurity and more needs to be done.

Another protester said Mr Gandhi  told them that they are for bringing in changes but echoed his mother remarks, saying they need time and all the changes could not be done in a very short span of time. He told them they have to work rationally and even though people are angry, decisions cannot be driven by emotions, sources tell NDTV

Mr Singh, who also spoke to reporters, said the representatives of protesters gave 12-13 suggestions on fighting crime against women.

“During the meeting, they were assured that the case will be heard in fast-track courts. They specifically said that they want accused to prove their innocence rather victim proving (it),” he said but refused to give a timeline for punishing the criminals.

“We cannot give a time-frame as only judges can decide. But we will ask for day-to-day hearing and the Delhi Police will aid the courts in delivering speedy justice,” Mr Singh said.  Sources add that while most of the protesters also demanded the death sentence for the accused, one of them opposed it.

“We have appealed to the protesters. The demands are being met. The government has heard them loud and clear. We are acting on their demands,” the Minister said.

Asked about clamping of prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in New Delhi, Singh defended the move, saying, “Some unfortunate things happened yesterday. Many youths got injured. We don’t this to happen. To save youths from this, we decided to take this step.

“99.99 per cent of the protesters want a peaceful protest but there are 0.1 per cent who wants something else,” he said.

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