Gang-rape case: HC pulls up police, safety steps announced
Faced with widespread outrage over the brutal rape and assault of a young paramedical student, government on Wednesday announced a slew of measures to instill confidence among people even as a fifth person was detained in Bihar while another accused said "hang me".
Taking suo motu cognisance of the gang-rape of the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus here on Sunday night, the Delhi high court pulled up the city police asking how the offence remained undetected.
The girl, admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital, continued to remain in a critical condition.
As indignation mounted, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today described the incident as "very upsetting". He directed Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to ensure that culprits are brought to book and such incidents are not repeated. "It's a heinous crime...it is very upsetting," he said.
In Parliament, Shinde said that there will be an immediate crackdown on buses having tinted glass and heavy curtains. They shall be impounded immediately, if they do not remove them.
All buses will be asked to keep their lights on while plying at night in Delhi and these must be parked with their owners and not their drivers, Shinde told Rajya Sabha.
Police detained Akshay Thakur, one of the six accused, from Aurangabad in Bihar and he is being brought to Delhi. Three of the four people already arrested in the case were produced before a court which sent two of them -- Vinay Sharma, an assistant gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller -- to four-day police custody and Mukesh, the brother of driver Ram Singh who was also arrested, to 14-day judicial custody for undergoing Test Identification Parade. Vinay and Pawan, however, have refused to undergo TIP.
When the judge asked whether they would volunteer to undergo TIP and if not why, Vinay said, "I had beaten up the boy but did nothing with the girl" and went on to say "mujhe faansi de do (hang me)", while Pawan told the court, "I do not want to undergo TIP as I have committed a heinous act".
On a day the city witnessed a series of demonstrations, including one outside Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's residence and Police Headquarters, Delhi high court said it was "at a loss to understand as to how the bus could evade surveillance for 40 minutes".
"This incident is of great concern for all the citizens of the capital city as it relates to the safety particularly of women and girl children," a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan said and asked the Police Commissioner to file a detailed status report within two days. "There are two important questions. The first is the investigation in the case and the second is the preventive measures. We want to know what measures have been taken by the police to prevent such incidents," it said.
Police said it has to recover the ATM cards and mobile phones of the victim and her male friend. A Special Investigation Team has been set up under DCP Chhaya Sharma to closely monitor the probe.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar met Shinde and it was decided that a drive will be launched to ensure removal of tinted glasses and curtains from all buses. It was also decided that mobile number and licence number of drivers will be displayed on buses.
Demanding stern action against the six accused, scores of protesters associated with All India Students' Association (AISA), All India Democratic Womens' Association (AIDWA) and other organisations staged protest in front of the residence of Dikshit and police headquarters.
Police used watercanon to disperse protesters outside Dikshit's residence. BJP's Delhi unit also staged protests at Jantar Mantar. Protesters accused the government of failing to ensure a safe environment for women in the capital. "Government is just playing the game of passing the buck and shying away from its responsibility. Delhi CM is saying law and order is under Home Ministry and they are saying its the responsibility of the state. How long such things will go on?" one of the protesters asked.
"Police should arrest the rapists promptly. Police patrolling needs to be increased. Law needs to be changed so that next time nobody can dare to do such heinous crime," Delhi State Joint Secretary of AIDWA Kavita Sharma said. Demanding a strong punishment for the culprits, Mayor of East Delhi Municipal Corporation Annapurna Mishra said they should be hanged within a month.