State unites in prayer for victims of rape

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: With anger, sorrow, disgust and disbelief in their minds, scores of residents from across the city gathered at the Don Bosco Square for a short candlelight procession to condole the death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim from Delhi who succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on Saturday.

People from all communities, mostly women, took part in the candlelight march which started from Don Bosco point and headed towards Laitumkhrah junction before coming back to the same place.

“We stand by you”, “The system failed completely” and “Fast track for all rape cases” were among the placards on display and the same depicted unison in the mood of the people who had assembled, like millions across the country, to mourn the death of “India’s daughter”. Banners called for stringent action against the perpetrators of crime against women.

“We express our solidarity with the Delhi gangrape victim,” CSWO president Agnes Kharshiing said.

Kharshiing also pointed out that the society needs to fight against the rising crime, especially in rural areas where victims even struggle to file an FIR.

The gathering, which witnessed the presence of various NGOs, also expressed serious concern over the Williamnagar gang-rape incident while raising an alarm bell over the rise in such incidents in the State.

President of Meghalaya United Women’s Welfare Association, Aruna Biswa said that if the state government is unable to take swift action against rapists, the NGOs will be forced to take ‘law into their own hands.’

Tarun Bharatiya of Freedom Project, a Shillong-based NGO, said there is a culture of rape that has been created in the country and the same was a matter of grave concern. He stressed on the need to create a society where men and women can be treated as equals.

The need for fast track courts and toll free helpline number for women was also stressed upon.

While there has been much hue and cry over the New Delhi gang-rape incident, which forced the Centre to jump into action, back home in Meghalaya not much is known about the trial of the accused in the Williamnagar case.

“As far as I know, due to holiday season, no trial has been conducted. But I have no knowledge on what the government is doing in this regard,” Meghalaya State Women’s Commission Chairman Ganchi R Marak said.

Rape cases have been on the rise in the State and sexual violence against minors has become the prime area of concern in predominantly matrilineal Meghalaya.

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