Gang rape fury: PM appeals for calm, victim still critical
Issuing a fresh appeal for peace on TV , Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday government will look into delay in response in the gang rape case as also all aspects concerning the security of women while asking people to desist from violence.
In a televised address, Singh said he and his family join in the concern for the 23-year-old victim, who was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 night.
"As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime." He said the government was constantly monitoring her medical condition.
His statement came as protests, which turned violent on Sunday, continued for the seventh day on Monday. Emphasising that anger at this crime is "justified", Singh said, "but violence will serve no purpose." Singh noted that Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has already spoken about the steps being taken to address issues regarding safety of women in the country.
"We will examine into delay not only the responses to this terrible crime but also all aspects concerning the safety and security of women," he said. Singh broke his silence on the issue on Saturday night when he issued a similar statement saying public anger is "genuine" and "justified".
Meanwhile, the heart of the national capital turned into a fortress on Monday with heavy deployment of police who blocked roads leading to India Gate and Raisina Hill to ensure that no protests take place there but the arrangements put commuters at severe hardship. Office goers and students were the most affected due to blockade of roads and closure of nine Metro stations near India Gate and Raisina Hill.
In view of the incidents in the last two-three days, the venue of the meeting between the Prime Minister and Russian President Vladimar Putin had to be shifted to the Race Course residence of the Prime Minister. Usually, such meetings are held in Hyderabad House which is close to India Gate, the scene of protests in the last two days. Media persons were also not allowed near India Gate or Raisina Hill and were asked to go to Pragati Maidan.
Meanwhile, chaos ruled outside Metro stations in Central Delhi on Monday morning as hundreds of people reached the stations unaware that they have been closed due to continuing protests at India Gate against the gang-rape of a young girl. Nine stations, were closed from early morning resulting in chaos.
Victim condition remains critical
The condition of the 23-year-old gang rape victim deteriorated on Monday with doctors saying that she is "not as good" as on Sunday. "Her condition has deteriorated... She is very serious, very critical and still not out of danger," one of the doctors attending to her at Safdarjung Hospital said.
Dr B D Athani, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, said last night, the victim developed tendency for internal bleeding and now she has reduced capacity for coagulation.
"Her bilirubin level has decreased to 5.5 and her lycolyte count is 6000. These parameters are after supplementation of platelet. She continues to remain on ventilator. She is not as good as yesterday and she is para sick. She is running fever of 102 to 104," he said. This is because of sepsis and it is a matter of "serious concern", he said.
In a related development, the three-member committee of jurists, constituted to give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases, began its work on Monday by issuing notice seeking public comments on the issue by January 5.
The committee headed by former Chief Justice of India J.S Verma sought comments from the public in general, particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs, women's groups and civil society members on reviewing the existing laws in a bid to provide quicker justice and stringent punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault, an official statement said.
The other members of the committee, constituted by the government, are Justice (retd) Leila Seth, former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh high court, and Gopal Subramanian, former Solicitor General of India. The panel has been given 30 days to give its report to the government.
- Asian Tribune -