Describing the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus on Sunday night as "shameful", an embattled Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar reiterated the commitment of his 80,000-strong force to the maintenance of law and order. Excerpts from an interview with HT:
Cases of sexual assault are going through the roof this year.
Statistics need to be seen in the correct perspective. Sunday night's incident was shameful and horrific but the case was cracked within 24 hours and the accused will be brought to justice. In all cases of sexual assault, cases are registered promptly and the accused arrested as soon as possible. We were, and always will be, committed to the safety and security of our citizens.
The whole society unanimously condemned the incident as perhaps the most brutal case of sexual assault ever to have been reported in Delhi. Will the accused be dealt with as severely?
Certainly. We will request the court concerned to appoint a special prosecutor and trial in a fast-track court. We will also send a proposal, seeking death penalty for accused in such cases.
The bus, on which the rape was executed, was plying on several south Delhi streets and even on a national highway. Why is the Delhi Police's presence on major highways so lax?
We have already introduced an initiative of intercepting trucks and commercial vehicles plying on national highways. We are also clicking pictures of their drivers and cleaners to create a database which can be referred to while investigating crimes perpetrated on such vehicles. It has been implemented in the south district and will now be replicated across the city. Intensive patrolling near border areas will follow suit.
There are several gangs which target people, especially women, travelling on 'unofficial' modes of transport after dark. What are you doing to counter it?
Just a fortnight ago, I had a meeting with the state's transport secretary and we are now in the process of evolving a stricter regime to remedy the situation. Soon, all permit holders will have to be verified by the police in addition to drivers and cleaners. In case vehicles with permits are found operating beyond duty hours, they will be impounded.