Just about a week after UP CM Yogi Aditya Nath announced an anti-Romeo squad, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced a similar crackdown on sexual predators on Friday, and even went a step further, saying his government will bring about a legislation to hang rapists.
Along with his repeated preaching against alcoholism and shutting down of liquor shops along the Narmada, a tough stance against sex crimes will earn him the goodwill of women — a crucial factor ahead of the 2018 assembly election. The CM is acutely aware that Madhya Pradesh has the shameful tag of being the rape capital of the country with 4,391 cases reported in 2015.
This is the third time Chouhan announced his stand on the death penalty for rapists but the first time that he laid out a timeline. Speaking at the passing out parade of sub-inspectors on Friday, the CM said: "We will table a bill in the monsoon session of the assembly to seek the death sentence for rape. Once it is passed, it will be forwarded to the President for assent."
After taking the salute at Police Training Academy in Bhouri on the outskirts of Bhopal, he said: "The first condition for the development of the state and the country is a good law-and-order system and this is the major responsibility of police... Hum Romeos ke against ek abhiyaan chalayenge (We will run a campaign against Romeos)."
Officials said the IPC needs to be amended to award capital punishment to rapists and the state government cannot do it all alone. However, punishments for various crimes against women can certainly be made tougher, they said.
TOI was first to report that MP will have tough laws to check crimes against women. On February 6, 2017, TOI reported the government's effort to make rape a capital crime, especially when a minor is assaulted, and not to allow bail to accused in sexual crimes for 90 days.