Indore: Union minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said no punishment can be stricter than death penalty for rapists even as she appealed to parents to teach their children to respect women.
She also said parents should be mindful of portrayal of women before their children.
"There are talks for a enacting a provision of stricter punishment for rapists. The government has already come out with the provision of death penalty. Nothing can be more severe than handing capital punishment (for rapists)," she said.
The Women and Children Development Minister was speaking at a function here in Madhya Pradesh. Irani's comments came against the backdrop of recent incidents of rapes and murders in Hyderabad and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
"We, as citizen, look up to (government) establishments for justice. Such establishments, media, film and literature etc. are held responsible for rape cases. As parents we should keep in mind how we are portraying women before our children," Irani said.
The BJP leader said the government has made a provision of death penalty for rapists. "There is no bigger punishment than capital punishment," she added.
Irani also underlined child pornography as another challenge before the society.
"It is responsibility of parents to teach their children to treat women properly," she added. Irani said funds are being utilised for setting up 1023 fast track courts in the country for speedy disposal of rape cases.
She said a national database of more than seven lakh offenders found guilty of rape is readied to keep an eye on them.
The minister also said the society should come forward to provide legal aid to rape survivors. Irani referred to the "threatening behaviour" of two MPs of Congress in the Lok Sabha on Friday when she was speaking on recent incidents of rape in the country.
"When I was speaking in Parliament on harassment of women, two male MPs surged ahead to beat me. The sole reason (for provocation) was that I was speaking in the House. Is it amount to harassment of women if a woman speaks or writes on their exploitation?" Irani said while condemning the incident.
She said respect for women should begin from families as they are the centres for "nurturing moral values".
"Cases of rape and oppression of women should not be taken lightly, and in this connection the challenge of child pornography should be tackled with," she said. Irani also dismissed demand in certain quarters for legalising prostitution to check rapes.
"What will be that society like which will treat women as commodity to satisfy lust (by legalising prostitution)?" she asked.
Responding to a question from audience on when the BJP would form a government in Maharashtra, the minister said, "the voters who voted for the BJP in assembly polls will have to ensure that they wipe out the Opposition parties in the next elections".