Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury Sunday said his party is open to discussing the possibility of death penalty for rapists.
"This is a very serious matter. We are willing to discuss and consider this because what happened in this Delhi rape case is gruesome," he said, to a query if CPI-M agreed with Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj's demand for death penalty for rapists.
Yechury contended that there is something "seriously wrong" in the society and that there is no fear and respect for the law.
"This sort of sickness in the society, where there is absolutely no fear of the law, forget respect of the law," he said, adding: "First of all we have to generate that fear of the law, and only then respect for law comes."
On the behaviour of Delhi Police following the rape, he said: "Police cannot behave in this way. I mean what is this nonsense of offering bribes to shut people up. This is why there is no respect for law."
"Even the manner in which they assaulted a woman protester, it is absolutely unacceptable," he said.
Yechury said the matter will be raised in parliament and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will be asked to respond.
Outrage has been spilling over in Delhi over the barbaric rape of a five-year-old and the police response. Two policemen who delayed registering a complaint even after the victim's parents complained of the girl's disappearance and a third officer who slapped a woman protester have been suspended.