In Jind, Sonia assures justice to rape victimís kin
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Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday visited the house of Sharmila, the teenaged rape victim in Jind who immolated herself on October 6, and assured her family of speedy justice.
"She hugged me and said Sharmila was like her daughter too and that she is equally shocked," said Rajkali, the mother of the 16-year-old victim, at Sachhakhera village in Jind district.
Sharmila immolated herself after her neighbour Pradeep and his cousin Naveen allegedly raped her while his other cousin Sanjeev, brother Manoj and sister-in-law Meenu stood guard. All five have been arrested.
Sonia, accompanied by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Union Minister Kumari Selja and state ministers visited Sharmila's home around 10 am. During the meeting, Sonia and others assured the family of strict action against the accused.
"She sat with us, consoled us and said that it was equally disturbing for her. She said that the government will ensure that the accused get the most severe punishment," said Balraj, Sharmila's father.
"Soniaji mere paas bhi aayi, kyunki main to khaat se uth nahi sakti; paon toota hua hai na. Aaj hi pehli baar dekha unko (Sonia came to me as well, because I cannot get up from the cot because of a fractured leg. I saw her for the first time)," said Sharmila's grandmother Dhanpati.
Speaking to reporters later, Sonia said: "I condemn in strongest terms these kind of incidents. The guilty should get the severest punishment.... Such cases are not unique to Haryana and happen all over the country."
Sonia snubs khaps, says law is with judiciary
Reacting to the "suggestions" by Haryana khap leaders like reducing the marriageable age from 18 to 16 to curb rape cases, Sonia Gandhi said: "We have a judiciary. We have democratic systems and law is in the hands of judiciary and nobody else." Last week, khap leaders had suggested that to check rapes, young men and women should be allowed to get married very young, so that their "sexual desires find safe outlets". ENS
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