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Sensitise cops and hold them accountable, says Mehra panel report

Source : AGENCIES
Last Updated: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 15:18 hrs

New Delhi: Women activists on Saturday said the Justice Usha Mehra committee report on the Delhi gang-rape has proved that there was need to act against policemen accountable for such crimes.

"I think it (the report) only brings out what we have been saying that police should be held accountable," Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women's Association, said.

"Action should be taken against those who fail to act," she said.

Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research, said: "It is actually a mixed report. It suggests that police should be held accountable while at the same time praises the response of the PCR (police control room) team."



Communist Party of India leader Annie Raja said the report by the former judge of the Delhi High Court exposed the callousness of Delhi Police.

"For years we have been demanding police reforms. This again points to the seriousness of the demand," she said.

"It (the crime) is nothing but the failure of the union home ministry," she said.

The Justice Mehra committee, set up to review responses to the Dec 16, 2012 Delhi gang-rape and suggest measures to improve safety and security of women in the city, submitted Friday its report to Law and Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar and Home Secretary R.K. Singh.

The report recommended that a counsellor, a qualified nurse to collect evidence, a woman police inspector and a forensic expert should be present under a single roof where rape victims could be taken.

It also suggested that the police should be sensitised on such crimes.

The commission was set up Dec 26, 2012 to enquire into various aspects of the shocking incident, identify the lapses, if any, on the part of police or any other authority.

A 23-year-old physiotherapist trainee was gang-raped in a moving bus by six men, who later dumped her on the street bloodied and without clothes Dec 16, 2012. Her male friend was also beaten and thrown off the bus. The woman died 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.

The major recommendations made by the panel

Some of the major recommendations made by Justice (retd) Usha Mehra in her report on the Dec 16 Delhi gang rape that was submitted to the law ministry on Friday:

* One stop centre, like those already operating in Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Africa, where the victim should be taken. There should be a councillor for the victim, and a trained nurse qualified in collecting evidence.

* There should be a woman police inspector at the centre

* There should be a forensic expert at the centre

* Sensitise police officers to such crimes

A single centre for rape victims

The Justice Usha Mehra committee, set up to review responses to the December 16 Delhi gang-rape and suggest measures to improve safety and security of women in Delhi, has suggested that counsellor, a qualified nurse to collect evidence, a woman police inspector and a forensic expert should be present under a single roof where rape victims can be taken.

"Government will give serious consideration to the report," union Law Minister Ashwini Kumar said, while accepting the report.

The commission, headed by the former Delhi High Court judge, was set up Dec 26 to enquire into various aspects of the shocking incident of the rape, identify the lapses, if any, on the part of the police or any other authority.

Though it was given three months for submitting its report, the committee completed its work early.

Speaking to NDTV, she said that the bus had tinted glasses, curtains and no light and could have been stopped by policemen.

"The bus could have been stopped by policemen and the crime could have been averted. The area had no police patrol or men on foot manning the street," she said.

She said the need of the time is to sensitise policemen so that they could handle such crimes sensitively.

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