Under fire in both Houses of Parliament for delayed government response to Sunday night’s brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old woman, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Tuesday that all necessary steps would be taken to make the city “safer” for women.
Cornered by women MPs for the lack of security and ineffective police patrolling in the capital, Shinde promised “strict action against the police officers concerned, if inquiry showed any lapses.”
He said four of the six accused in the gangrape had already been arrested. “It is proposed to have this case tried by a fast-track court with a request for daily hearings,” Shinde said.
Faced with angry demands like death penalty for rapists by MPs led by leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, the home minister announced that a special task force would be formed at the level of the home secretary to look into women’s safety issues.
Since Delhi Police is under the direct control of the home ministry, Shinde faced a volley of questions from MPs cutting across party lines on its effectiveness in preventing such crimes in the Capital.
The home minister was repeatedly grilled about how the police control room (PCR) vans deployed across south Delhi failed to notice the incident that began around 9:30pm.”I will inquire into this and only after that can I say something,” he said.
Shinde outlined a number of steps taken by Delhi Police in recent months to make the city safe.
“All roads are covered by PCR vans at night. The frequency of patrolling has been kept as high as possible.”
He said the routes taken particularly by women employees of call centres at night had been identified for increased patrolling. Besides, he said the police had instructed call centres and other organisations to ensure that women staff working in evening shifts are dropped at their doorstep.