In response to a nationwide outcry at a series of gang rape incidents in the capital, the Indian government has finally unveiled a comprehensive four-point action plan to tackle its rape problem. The key points in the new action plan, proposed by the United Pro-regressive Alliance (UPA), includes a nation-wide awareness program to promote domestic lifestyle, modesty in clothing, implementation of special transportation system and a new legislation to make electronic anti-rape devices mandatory for women.
“We believe that this is a progressive piece of legislation set to empower women in our country and is consistent with felt sensitivities of the nation in the aftermath of outrageous gang rapes in India,” the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, told reporters late on Friday.
The proposed four-point action plan is based on the recommendations of a panel of prominent religious and political leaders, including Asaram Bapu, Abhijit Mukherjee, Mohan Bhagwat and selected Islamic clerics of the nation.
The new law makes it mandatory to wear electronic anti-rape device (named “C-Belt”) for women under age 70 in public space. However, it is expected to cost more than 300 Million rupees to make and distribute subsidized C-Belts to nations half a billion females.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presenting the C-Belt at the Press meet
During the press meet, news reporters are given a copy of the C-Belt for testing. “The C-Belt, designed by the Department of Defense, is made of high quality black Italian leather on the boarders for longer period of usage with minimal discomfort.” Defense minister A.K. Antony said to the reporters. “The lock and the central core metal piece is made of high strength liquid metal alloy, capable of defending a Ballistic missile attack”
In addition to a safety lock and key, the C-Belt is coupled with an electronic component that is regulated by a switch. Once you press the switch during a rape attempt, it will play a pre-recorded plea, requesting the rapist to stop the violence and to consider her as his own sister. After that, the device will continue with chants of Saraswati mantra until the offender(s) give up.
“Parents are responsible for safely keeping the key, till their daughter returns from work or school,” the Prime Minister said. The C-Belt has got enough pores to handle emergency toilet situations. “But generally, that should not be a problem. Due to the lack of public toilet facilities in the country, our women are trained to hold their urges for extended periods.”
The new legislation proposal has already drawn criticism from various political parties. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj termed the decision to offer C-Belts only in black “absurd” and said that her party will fight for more options. “Our women need more color options. Pink and Saffron would be nice.”
“Subsidized C-Belt will cost approximately Rs. 99 for BPL citizens and Rs. 299 for APL families,” Godrej Ltd, the trusted lock makers in the country, that won contract to make the anti-rape device, told The Wadiyan. “Definitely, there will be more choices. Our customers will be encouraged to order C-Belts with pure gold or diamond plated keys, symbolizing their status” company said.
Once the law is passed, violators could be punished with a fine of Rs. 500. The legal order by cabinet need to get approval of the president, Pranab Mukherjee, before becoming law and parliament must ratify it within six weeks of the start of the next session, which begins May 27.