Crimes in India have seen a marginal rise in the recent past. Cases of molestation, murder, rapes, abduction rank India at low in the safety index. Feeling these victims pain, one such person who thinks it is the duty of a true democrat to raise her voice and protest against the gruesome rape of minors is Ms. Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). Maliwal has launched a do-or-die protest and is on an indefinite hunger strike since April 13, right in the middle of the national capital’s Rajghat.

In the wake of the recent gang-rape and murder in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao and Jammu & Kashmir’s Kathua districts, the 33-year-old Maliwal said she wouldn't end her fast until the law comes into force.

Kathua gang-rape and murder case has shaken the people globally. The rapists and murderers have found support from the ruling political party. Two BJP ministers had even attended a protest rally, taken out in support of the rapists and murderers of the 8-year-old Kashmiri girl, Ashifa. Later on, both of them resigned under global protest. Accordingly, the Kathua Bar Association had called for a one-day bandh in support of the rapists and murderers of the 8-year-old child.

In spate with the recent incidents, Kathua gang rape is adamant on immediate implementation of a stringent law for rape in India, including death penalty within six months. In addition, Maliwal also expressed her disgust on the indifference shown by the National Commission for Women, a national women’s body, adding that the NCW chief should resign on moral grounds.

Earlier, Maliwal was suspect of corruption and summoned last year by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which alleged that she was involved in the irregularities regarding the appointment of staffers on the panel. In response, Maliwal accused the BJP and the Congress party of confronting her for their vested interests.

Arvind Kejriwal Congratulated Swati Maliwal

Faced with nationwide heated protest, the Narendra Modi government announced death penalty for the rapists of children younger than 12 years. Accordingly, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked Swati Maliwal to end her hunger strike after the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it had initiated the process to amend the POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences). Even though Centre passes an ordinance to introduce the death penalty for rape of minors, Swati is resolute with her agenda.

Maliwal has close ties with Aam Aadmi Party and is married to an AAP leader in Haryana. In 2011 she was the youngest member of the core committee of the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement.

Maliwal added, "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."

Swati’s five-point agenda:

Maliwal, an IT engineer moved to public life and social work soon after, having briefly worked with Greenpeace to promote safe food for women and children. She demands the central government should increase fast-track courts in the country that will help avoid delay in getting justice for rape victims. She has been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike for the last nine days, with her five demands which include:

(1) The provision of a death sentence for the rapists of minors within six months.

(2) The trial of women’s sexual harassment cases should be completed within six months, and the guilty should be given strict punishment.

(3) Accountability of the country and Delhi Police should be decided and arranged with their digitization and arrangement of modern software.

(4) A proper arrangement of police personnel in the country should be made, and the demands of 66,000 new policemen by the Delhi Police should be met.

(5) The number of fast track courts should be increased.

Welcoming the Cabinet's decision to approve the ordinance on the death penalty for those convicted of raping children below the age of 12, Swati Maliwal, however, added “every day affidavits are submitted in courts by the government. Unless the law comes into enforcement, I won't stop. The law has to be death penalty within six months to those convicted of raping minors," she said.