Don’t believe the cops: The way forward in the Delhi rape case

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 07:25 hrs

Vijay Simha lists out five things to be done now in the Delhi gang rape case

1. Monitor the probe into the constable's death.

The Delhi Police, never an entirely trustworthy entity, has offered different versions of constable Subhash Tomar's death from his exertions at India Gate.

First they said some protestors thrashed Tomar and he died of the injuries.

But there's a photograph showing an injured woman trying to help Tomar. There are others too trying to assist the man. The photograph shows no injury marks on Tomar.

Then, the police said he died of internal injuries. This morning they say he received injuries on his chest and stomach. 

Finally, they announced a probe into Tomar's death and handed it to the Crime Branch. It appears as if the Delhi Police is trying to make a martyr of Tomar.

The only independent information we have is from Dr TS Sidhu, medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, where Tomar was taken.

Sidhu is quoted as saying: "When he was brought here, he was in a state of cardiac arrest and we performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him."  There isn't a word about injuries.

We also have an eyewitness who says Tomar collapsed while walking. Of the three who have something to say, the Delhi Police is the least dependable.

This is not to belittle Tomar or his death. This is simply to get to the truth.

The police could foist murder charges on people for Tomar's death, which may be completely untrue and entirely worrisome. Remember, the Crime Branch is a wing of the police and their conclusions may not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Dying at work is vastly different from being murdered at work. Was Tomar fit enough to be there that day?

2. Conduct fitness tests on the policemen posted at India Gate.

The merciless thrashing the police handed out to girls and boys at India Gate is usually their first instinct. They seem to know no other way of dealing with agitations. The way they lashed out seemed to come from hate.

A simple psychological test should tell us about their mental fitness. Many in the Delhi Police can't handle stress – their chosen way to deal with it is to drink.

Also, many Delhi Police constables are physically unfit. Simple tests should tell us the truth here too.

It might be that most of the policemen at India Gate that day shouldn't have been there on grounds of mental and physical health. They may be a risk to their own lives and the lives of the protestors.

3. Amend the Juvenile Justice Act, if needed

It turns out that one of the helpers of Ram Singh (the main accused in the Delhi gang rape), who was apparently the most merciless of the six perpetrators, is less than 18 years of age, which makes him juvenile.

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 says this in Chapter 2, section 16, sub-section 1: "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, no juvenile in conflict with law shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment…"

Elsewhere, the Act limits maximum sentence to three years.  This can easily be amended by making allowance for the rarest of rare cases. The helper was the barbarian who lured the girl and her male companion in with lies, raped her, savagely attacked the male friend and helped wash off the evidence. In addition, he had helped rob another passenger minutes earlier.

He is evidently a malignant vagrant with a trail of past crimes. Monsters too start early; he must be in for life at the minimum.

4. Form corps of volunteers who will man buses and metros

A vast number of people commute to work and back by buses and metro in Delhi, although the city has two or three times the number of private vehicles of any other city in India. This is where anything goes; it is said that no woman in Delhi is completely free of unwanted physical contact from men.

Buses, metros, malls and markets need to be manned and the police are not an appropriate agency to do this.

We need a corps of volunteers for this, who may be paid decent honorarium for the work. A consortium of NGOs can employ them for this. These volunteers need to have devices to immediately communicate with the police when needed. They must have visual identity, like a uniform. They must be in in pairs, never single. And they need to be trained in self-defense techniques.

5. Applaud the doctors

Indians who have the money tend to seek medical help outside India. They, of course, have the right to do so but it leaves an uncomfortable feeling.

Should those with less money risk their lives at the hands of doctors in India? But this team of doctors at Safdarjung Hospital has done a great job. The hospital is always under stress; they don't have enough room, there are too many patients, there's too little money and there's not enough modern equipment.  Yet, they have kept the girl alive and in good spirits.

India tends to be obsessed with people from the entertainment world. These doctors are heroes and they deserve to be rewarded.

Vijay Simha is an independent journalist and sobriety campaigner based out of New Delhi. His most recent journalism assignment was as executive editor with The Financial World, New Delhi, and

He was a guest on Season 1 of the popular Indian TV show Satyamev Jayate, hosted by Aamir Khan.

Vijay blogs here and may be contacted at

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