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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1585

Girl’s gang rape in bus shocks Delhi, Parliament

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 19 December ( :

Brutally gang-raped by four persons in a moving bus in south Delhi on Sunday night, a 23-year-old woman is now battling for life at the Safdarjung Hospital here. The girl’s male friend was also assaulted, stripped and then thrown off the bus along with her near the Mahipalpur flyover in south-west Delhi.

While the police have rounded up six persons on suspicion of their involvement, they have impounded a bus from Noida suspecting it to be the one in which the crime was committed.

The girl and her friend took an autorickshaw to a bus shelter in Munirka on Outer Ring Road after visiting a mall in Saket. They boarded a “contract-carriage” luxury bus going toward Palam at around 9.30 p.m. The bus, which the police said had tinted glasses, had only four other passengers besides the couple. The police believe that the other passengers were acquainted with the bus driver and the cleaner.

“ When some of the passengers passed nasty remarks at the girl, an argument ensued between them and her friend, who was beaten up with iron rods by the four men,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) Chhaya Sharma. The group then pounced on the girl, dragged her into the driver’s cabin where they forced themselves on her. They also robbed the two victims of their belongings before throwing them off the bus on National Highway-8 near the Mahipalpur flyover around 10.15 p.m., almost six km from where the couple had boarded the bus.

Shocked and numbed, the victims were barely able to raise an alarm when they were spotted by a security guard deployed at a nearby construction site, who immediately called up the police suspecting that something was amiss as they two had sustained injuries and were bleeding.

The police reached the spot and rushed the injured victims to Safdarjung Hospital where the girl is currently on ventilator support, the police said. According to sources in the hospital, the girl, who mainly received injuries on her face and stomach, was bleeding profusely when brought her in for treatment. The police have collected CCTV footage of a white colour bus which they suspect is the one inside which the crime was committed. Ms. Sharma has appealed to the public seeking information leading to the identification and whereabouts of the vehicle shown in the footage that has been released.

While efforts are being made to locate the vehicle, Ms. Sharma said, such buses are usually rented out to private offices or schools who run them as chartered buses for their employees or students. “We have zeroed in on 60 such buses so far and impounded some for further investigations,” she said.

According to the police investigations so far have pointed out that it being a Sunday, there is a possibility that the bus was not on duty and the driver, the cleaner and other staff were carrying passengers in an unauthorised manner to earn some extra buck. A case of abduction and gang rape against unidentified offenders has been registered and it was learnt that some suspects were being quizzed.

The Delhi gang-rape case will be tried on fast-track basis and action will be taken if lapses are found on part of the police, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday while promising steps for ensuring safety of women. Replying to an impromptu discussion on Sunday’s incident, Mr Shinde said he agreed with the views expressed by members and promised to take necessary steps to ensure safety of women in Delhi.

He said four persons out of the six accused have already been arrested and further investigations are on. He said all roads will be covered by PCR vans at night and specific routes used by women working in BPOs and call centres will be identified for increased patrolling by police. Shinde said Delhi Police has issued orders to BPOs and other organisations to ensure that their women staff working in evening shifts are dropped at their doorstep. Besides, three helpline services for women would be launched.

Parliament on Tuesday unitedly voiced shock and outrage over the gang rape. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saw members of all parties raising serious concern over repeated incidents of rape in the national capital with demands for death penalty for perpetrators of such crimes.

During the impromptu discussion, women members in both Houses expressed anger over the incident and concern over safety of the fair sex in Delhi, with actor-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan even breaking down in the Rajya Sabha.

- Asian Tribune -

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