The Centre has formed a one-member commission of enquiry to look into the lapses by Delhi Police and other government agencies which led to the brutal assault on a 23-year-old paramedical student and also to suggest measures to stop crimes against women in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).
The decision comes in the wake of massive protests in Delhi against the incident and a day after United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi held a high-level meeting of the Congress leadership at the Prime Minister’s residence to stop such crimes against women in Delhi. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gandhi on the incident and measures the government was taking to avoid such incidents in future.
The one-person commission, consisting of former Delhi High Court judge Usha Mehra, is expected to give its report within three months of its first sitting. It can also give an interim report to the Union government before its tenure ends.
This is the first time the Union government has talked about lapses or negligence on the part of government agencies including Delhi Police, which is investigating the case. The city government has decided to increase the number of public transport buses at night and would also deploy home guards for the security of women passengers to commute.
“It is a shame. As a man, I feel ashamed. Why do men behave like this? We acknowledge the public anger and recognise it,” said P Chidambaram, finance minister, soon after the Cabinet meeting.
Chidambaram added the government’s priority is on three fronts — ensure punishment to the guilty, find what went wrong, and amend laws dealing with crimes against women to provide for sterner penalty and faster trials. The finance minister emphasised that courts should set up fast-tracking courts for such cases because of the huge pendency.
Meanwhile, some who claim to be witnesses say police constable Subhash Chand Tomar was not beaten by protesters during the agitation as claimed by Delhi Police. The doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, too, said Tomar didn’t have external injuries and the cause of the death could only be known after an autopsy. Delhi Police has, however, named eight people for the death of the constable, and also asked the Crime Branch to investigate the death of the 47-year-old.