Swati Maliwal to end hunger strike on Sunday after Cabinet approves death penalty for child rapists

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Hours after the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to give stringent punishment, including the death penalty, to those convicted of raping girls below 12 years, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal announced that she will end her indefinite hunger strike on Sunday. Maliwal, who has been sitting on a hunger strike for past nine days at Rajghat in New Delhi, will break her fast at 2:00 pm tomorrow. “The hunger strike is ending, but our struggle for women safety will continue,” she said.

READ | Death penalty for rape of children below 12 years age: Union Cabinet approves ordinance

Earlier in the day, the DCW chief had said she won’t end her fast until “something concrete happens” to ensure safety of a girl child. “I congratulate people of this country for this victory. Very few protests have achieved so much in such less time. But until something concrete happens, I will not give up. Until a system is there which ensures safety for the last girl, I won’t give up,” Maliwal had said on Twitter. “I will continue the fast until the ordinance is passed. Also police resources and accountability needs to be increased. Really sad that some channels are playing false news that I have broken the fast. Praying to all news channels conscience to kindly not report fake news,” she added.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maliwal listed out her six demands, which included the passage of the ordinance, recruitment of police personnel as per the United Nations standards and fixing accountability of the police force.

Amid a nationwide outrage over cases of sexual assault on girls and women in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, in Surat in Gujarat and in Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, the Cabinet chaired by PM Modi earlier in the day approved an ordinance to provide stringent punishment, including death penalty, for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years. The ordinance will be promulgated after the assent from the President.

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