More night buses with Home Guards on board in Delhi, rightsizing of VIP security in Maharashtra and a probe by a panel if lapses on part of the Delhi Police led to the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman — authorities Wednesday sought to address the issue of security of women, which has pitted them against the public.
The Delhi government will double the number of buses plying in the night to 85 with Home Guards on board — a move aimed at securing women who are at their most vulnerable while moving around in the Capital.
“The routes will touch all important junctions in the city. We may also consider deployment of Home Guards during evening hours at a later stage,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit said.
The physiotherapist was raped on board a chartered bus that was plying illegally.
The CM has asked Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which operates a fleet of around 6,000 buses, to improve services with focus on security and safety. Though a time-frame has not been given, the transport department has been asked to ready a plan as soon as possible.
The government wrote to the Delhi Police to intensify action against buses with tinted glasses. Auto-rickshaw drivers refusing passengers could lose permit, the CM said.
During the day, the union cabinet approved the setting up of a commission of inquiry, led by former Delhi high court judge Usha Mehra, to probe whether lapses on the part of the Delhi Police led to the gangrape, and fix responsibility.
"The commission will also suggest measures to enhance safety and security of women in Delhi/ National Capital Region," finance minister P Chidambaram said. The report, expected in three months, will be tabled in Parliament along with the one on action taken by the government.
The announcement of the commission -- reported first by HT on Tuesday -- came on a day when a separate jurists' committee, headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma, held its first meeting.
The Verma panel has received 6,100 emails within three days, suggesting changes in the criminal law for faster trials and enchanced punishment for sexual assault against women.
To get more boots on the ground to ensure safety of women, Maharashtra has decided to trim the security cover of VIPs, which include industrialists and Bollywood actors. It will free up around 487 personnel.
The state plans to recruit more women constables and have special cells in each police station to help women in distress.