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Irani blames AAP govt for 'delay' in hanging of convicts

Irani blames AAP govt for delay in hanging of convicts

New Delhi: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday blamed the AAP government in Delhi for the "delay" in the hanging of the Nirbhaya case convicts, an allegation Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed "sad" and urged her not to indulge in politics over such an issue.

Addressing a press conference, Irani accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation of depriving the victim's mother of justice.

"Why was the prisons department, which comes under the AAP government, sleeping after the dismissal of review petition in July 2018? Why did the government give Rs 10,000 and a sewing kit to the juvenile rapist when he was released?" she asked.

Kejriwal, however, urged Irani not to do politics over the Nirbhaya case and said that everyone -- including the BJP-ruled Centre and the AAP government in Delhi -- should work together in ensuring that justice in such cases is delivered at the earliest.

"I feel sad that politics is being done on such an issue. Shouldn't we be working together to ensure that the guilty are hanged soonest?

"Shouldn't we join hands to ensure that a system is in place so that such beasts get hanged within six months? Please don't do politics on this. Lets together create a safe city for our women," Kejriwal said in video which was posted on Twitter.

A war of words has erupted between the AAP and the BJP after the Delhi government informed the high court that the hanging of the convicts in the Nirbhaya case would not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea had been filed by one of the rapists.

Irani said while the entire country was united in demanding justice for the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, who came to be known as "Nirbhaya", the fearless, it has been found that "Kejriwal tried to delay justice in this case".

The BJP leader also said that as a woman, she was "aggrieved" due to the "delaying tactics" of the AAP. She alleged that the Delhi government's advocate Rahul Mehra also tried to postpone the hangings citing procedural reasons in the court.

Kejriwal, however said that everyone wants the convicts to be hanged at the earliest.

"We should all try that all procedures are completed at the earliest and the convicts are hanged. Prakash Javadekar made a similar allegation. The blame-game would not ensure early hanging of the convicts. We all should work together to hang the convicts at the earliest," he said.

The Delhi chief minister also said that there is a need to make cities safer for women and ensure that politics is not done over it.

Fresh death warrants were issued by a Delhi court on Friday for the execution of the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape-murder case on February 1, shortly after the President quickly rejected the mercy petition of one of them.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gangraped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.

Six people -- Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Ram Singh and a juvenile -- were named as accused. The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013.

The prime accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years. He was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. The juvenile, when released, was 20 years old.

Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were convicted and sentenced to death in September 2013.

Meanwhile, the father of the 23-year-old paramedic student, who was gangraped and brutally assaulted in December 2012, on Friday welcomed President Ram Nath Kovind's decision to reject the mercy plea of one of the four convicts, saying it has given him hope of their early execution.

"We are happy that the chances of them getting hanged have increased. We are assured that as soon as they file mercy pleas they will be rejected," he said.

He said the news of the execution not happening on January 22 had disheartened them but Friday's developments have heightened their hopes.

"There is a hearing at 3.30 pm at Patiala House Court and this development will have a positive impact on it. Kal jo nirasha thi woh aaj asha mein badal gayi hai (Yesterday's disappointment has turned into hope today)," he added.

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