New Delhi: Delhi Police is going to cut the security it provides to VIPs, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has said.
This follows a request from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the minister told Rajat Sharma of India TV, the network said in a statement Friday.
He said the Committee on VIP Security in his ministry was presently going through the proposal.
Shinde's statement follows the nationwide outrage over the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a Delhi bus Dec 16. She died after 13 days.
"The prime minister and Soniaji told me about trimming VIP security two-three days ago," he said. "I have asked the home secretary to look into it.
"I can only promise that VIP security will be trimmed very soon."
Shinde said that out of the 86,000 Delhi policemen, nearly 7,000 were deployed for VIP security.
Of this, 2,500 policemen provided security to Z plus category VIPs and the rest were deployed at courts and vital installations.
There have been growing demands that Delhi Police should scale down security for VIPs in the capital so that more personnel can be deployed to protect the city and its residents.
The minister said all rapes "cannot be considered as rarest of rare cases" but the Dec 16 assault on the young woman in a Delhi bus fell into this category.
Asked if he would ever recommend commuting death sentences to rapists, Shinde said: "So long as I am in this chair, I will never recommend such a thing to the president."
Shinde said the strongest sentence should be given for the Delhi gang-rape by six males.
He said the home ministry had sanctioned the creation of 2,506 posts in Delhi Police. The proposal had been sent to the finance ministry.
On the clampdown against gang-rape protests at India Gate, Shinde pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin was arriving in India at that time.
"We cannot play with our nation's prestige and dignity when a foreign guest is coming. Nowhere in the world such things are allowed to happen."