Delhi: Amid widespread outrage over the barbaric gangrape of a girl inside a moving bus, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday urged the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to immediately make functional five special fast track courts to try cases of assault on women, as approved by Delhi government.
The Chief Minister, in a letter to Justice Darmar Murugesan, urged him to take "urgent" action in making the fast track courts functional.
She said the city government had already approved setting up of the fast track courts to deal with the cases of sexual assault on women and to provide speedy justice and conviction of the guilty.
Ms Dikshit said the courts have not been made functional despite the Delhi government conveying the High Court about its approval to the proposal in October.
Dikshit and Shinde call for fast track courts for rape cases
Referring to the gang rape and brutal assault on the girl on Sunday evening, Ms Dikshit suggested to Justice Murugesan that bail should not be given to those involved in heinous crimes against women.
"This would additionally act as a strong deterrent," she added.
Ms Dikshit stated that "in view of the rising number of such crimes against women and to provide immediate deterrent punishment to the guilty, the suggestions may be considered seriously and urgently."
The Chief Minister said her government would extend any possible support required in making the courts functional at the earliest.
The girl, a paramedical student, was raped and brutally assaulted before being thrown out of the moving vehicle with her male friend.
"This is a shocking incident and we will take all necessary action to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future. At the same time we need to have deterrent punishment to the perpetrators of such crime against women," Ms Dikshit said.
She said Delhi government does not have any control over police, and it will seek the same from the Centre.
Delhi's Minister for Women and Child Welfare Kiran Walia said Delhi government was working on installing CCTV cameras in all the buses in the city so that women feel safe while travelling in the buses.
"The Delhi government would now seriously work on installing CCTV cameras inside the buses," she said.
The Chief Minister is likely to meet Home Minister Sushil kumar Shinde to seek his immediate intervention in ensuring a foolproof law and order situation in Delhi.
Chairperson and members of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) would also accompany Ms Dikshit during the meeting.
Meanwhile, DCW chairperson Barkha Singh demanded deployment of guards in all private and government-run buses in Delhi while seeking immediate installation of CCTV cameras in them.
She demanded removal of tinted glasses from all buses in the city urgently.
Shinde: Cops detected case without loss of time
The Delhi gang-rape case will be tried by a fast-track court with request for daily hearings, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and said action will be taken against police for any lapses in security of women.
Replying to concerns of members who expressed anguish and outrage at the torture and gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus here Sunday night, Shinde said a special task force under the home secretary will be be constituted to look into safety issues of women in the capital.
He said the task force will take into account suggestions made by the MPs and try to bring them into action.
"Many good suggestions have come. I have taken note of it," Shinde said.
Member after member expressed outrage over the shocking incident, which has left the attacked woman in a critical condition in a hospital.
Shinde promised "immediate action" in the case and said he agreed with the members that it was a matter of concern for the country.
Speaking of steps taken by police for safety of women, he said all roads were covered by Police Control Room vans at night, the frequency of patrolling was kept high and specific routes have been identified which are used by women returning from their work places like call centres.
The minister said three dedicated helplines have been set up for women.
He said Delhi Police had "detected the case without loss of time" and arrested four of the six accused in the case. Teams have been dispatched to nab others.
"It is proposed to have this case tried by a fast-track court (with) request for day-to-day hearing so that the trial does not linger," Shinde said.
The minister said he will talk to police and ensure steps "that need to be taken are taken" for safety of women. Strict action will be taken against police officers concerned in case of lapses.
The minister said that BPO centres and other establishments have been asked to drop their workers at the doorsteps at night.
Shinde also said that the criminal law amendment bill has already been introduced in the Lok Sabha with the aim of rationalising various sections dealing with sexual offences against women so that the conviction rate improves.
He said the amendment also seeks to increase punishment for crimes against women.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha discussed the torture and gang-rape of the physiotherapy student in Delhi and asked the government to take stern steps against her attackers.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj even demanded that rapists should be hanged.
Students, activists protest
Students from various universities and colleges, activists belonging to different organisations and common citizens of Delhi on Tuesday staged protest demonstrations outside the Vasant Vihar Police station here against the horrible gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a running bus late on Sunday night.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)' Student Union and other activists shouted slogans, formed a human chain outside the police station and demanded capital punishment for the culprits.
"Our demand is our safety, it is our fundamental right, right to life. We are stopped from protesting, but we are raped everywhere," said Shirin, a college student.
Earlier today, social activist and former senior police officer Kiran Bedi said police, parents and society need to work with each other to prevent such crimes.
"I think we need to give a clarion call from the mothers and fathers, which means you bring back parents, you bring back teachers into a social role and you bring back community and police in crime prevention role. Unless we put this package together, these crimes will continue to happen and many women will continue to lose their fundamental right over mobility," said Bedi.
National Women Commission Chairman Mamta Sharma said: "I feel that the police must be alert to prevent such cases. If such crimes take place in a thickly populated area, so what will happen in isolated areas? I want that this case should be taken very seriously, so that we can curb such acts in the future."
According to media reports, the victim, who is on ventilator support, is battling for her life at the Safadarjung Hospital here.
The police have arrested four of the six accused. They have been sent to five-days of police remand for further interrogation.
'Govt's lack of seriousness among reasons for rise in rapes'
Expressing shock over the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student, Indian Women's Press Corps today blamed the government's non-serious approach as one of the main reasons behind the rise in such crimes.
"The low rate of conviction of IPC crimes like rape and molestation, slow trials in such cases, lack of immediate relief and rehabilitation and complete lack of seriousness by the government to deal with policy and legislation confronting women has led to a heightened sense of vulnerability among all sections of women," Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) said in a statement.
The overall atmosphere in the capital is one where women feel very insecure at all times, it said.
"Crime data also shows that among all metros, Delhi ranks as the most unsafe for women and leads in the crimes listed as IPC crimes in the country. For the majority of women who rely on public transport, the risks remain much greater," the statement added.
Meanwhile, the condition of the girl who is battling for life has improved a bit but she still remains in a critical state. "She is better than yesterday but she is still not out of danger," doctors attending on her said.
They said the paramedical student has suffered severe injuries on her head and face during the assault.
Bollywood demands strict punishment
Bollywood celebrities like Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Preity Zinta have demanded strict punishment for those involved in the gangrape of a 23-year-old student.
"The first thought which comes to the mind is - such people should be killed - but there are too many things which we have to follow. It is a shame that such a thing has happened, how can somebody commit such a heinous crime.
"If not death they should be sentenced for life so that they learn a lesson. Rapists are beaten up in jails also," Salman said.
"Heroine" star Kareena Kapoor called for reassessment of the existing laws in the country.
"Whatever happened, it really should not have happened. In our country, we always take safety measures after any shocking incident happens. I definitely would like to say that getting justice in the country is really time taking. Our laws should be reassessed. Justice has to happen faster," she said.
"Yes we can stoop lower as a people. The Delhi bus gang rape is proof of that. Is justice asleep? I believe swift and severe punishment is the only deterrent. These deviants are not afraid of consequence as it comes too little too late," filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted.
The celebrities also demanded a change in the set of laws regarding rape cases.
"It's disgusting how unsafe Delhi is becoming 4women! Either there should be capital punishment 4 rapists or they should be castrated," posted Preity Zinta.
Actor Arjun Rampal said, "New set of laws and more severe punishments are required for these kind of criminals. Rapist should be publicly flogged. No more tolerance."
"Rapists and murderers are out on bail and roaming scotfree.. Sometimes also given tickets to political parties... Hang rapists and murderers," tweeted Raveena Tandon.
We need to Stop objectifying our women: Anurag Kashyap
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap said, "We need to Stop objectifying our women in what we call our second religion... Our films. And our TV Shows."
"Gangs Of Wasseypur" actress Huma Qureshi tweeted, "Rape is saying-I can violate u whenever I want. Killing rapists wnt solve nything. Respect women on an everyday basis.
"Stop nurturing men 2 think they r masters. Its not ok to b rude, uncouth even in seemingly small ways. In dat attitude is d seed of d problem (sic)."
Actress Juhi Chawla tweeted, "Read the heart rending, shocking & saddening news about the gang-rape on a Delhi bus!' Sometimes I wish our laws were as simple & strict as tooth for tooth & an eye for an eye. Crimes like this wouldn't happen! I hope those men are found & publicly punished for this heinous act."
"We are becoming a country of barbarians... Castration 4 rape wld send out the right message," said choreographer-actor Farah Khan.
Delhi rape spreads fear, women demand death for rapists
Hang the rapists or punish them in public - was the most common refrain among women in the national capital as the horror of the 23-year-old woman gang-raped by seven men in a moving bus stunned the nation.
Many women said the incident has spread fear and a feeling that women are not safe even if they have a male companion.
'It is really shocking and scary for people, especially who stay alone. I am a student, I stay here with my friends. My parents are also very scared to leave me alone in the city after such rape cases,' says Surbhi Dudeja, a first-year student at Delhi university.
'I think the best way to teach them (the accused) a lesson is to hang them so that no one in the future could ever dare it again,' she said.
Shweta Arya, 31, who works as a relationship manager with a finance consultancy, says she has to move a lot for her work and though she drives her own car, the incident has left her scared.
'My office is in Noida, but I have to move to different parts of Delhi for my work. Of course, women always have some sense of fear, like I usually avoid driving alone too late in the night, but now I feel even more afraid,' she says.
'I don't know...keeping in mind that the conviction rate in our country is so low... I think such accused should be punished at a public platform. Either they should be hanged at a public place or they should be pelted stones by people. I know it is extreme, but I don't know what is the solution for women who live alone in the city,' Arya added.
A research scholar at Delhi University, Divya Khurana says the worst part is that the case confirms women are not safe even in male company.
'We are often late at our work, and the best assurance I had so far was a male co-student who would be helpful and accompany us... now perhaps all women need to think again,' she said.
'Who will come and assure our parents that we are safe, that we should be allowed to lead normal lives?' she asks.
Twenty-nine-year-old Megha, who works with a private company in Gurgaon, says her parents are already insisting she quit her job as it requires her to stay in office till 8 p.m.
'Its not really late at 8 p.m., but when such incidents happen, parents get worried. Though I live with my parents I have to commute alone, now they are insisting I quit my job and work somewhere close to home. But that is not possible,' says Megha.
'Their concerns cannot be shrugged off, but it is so unfair that I compromise with my career because I am a woman,' she said, visibly angry.
Protests have been taking place all across the city, both women and men outraged over the incident. However, fear seems to be dominant, with many admitting they would now be afraid to venture out on Delhi roads at night, at least for a while.
'I work for the media and travel late hours for work. I go to Noida and Gurgaon too sometimes for my work. After this incident, more than scared I am shocked as to how can people be so barbaric,' said Madhurima Mishra, a media professional.
The angry woman demanded capital punishment for the criminals.
'The accused should be hanged in public and before that punished rigorously so that everyone will learn to respect each other and help each other,' she demanded.
Charu Sethi, a housewife and a mother of a two-year-old son, said not only women but men are also scared because of the poor law and order situation in the city.
'I will relate a small incident which will explain how the entire city or country is scared. Last evening when I was traveling in an auto, two people on a bike asked the auto driver for some direction and after getting the directions the rider asked whether it is safe to go there or not...' Sethi said.
'This shows that not only women but also men are scared after such a heinous crime and I guess this says it all that Delhi people are traumatised.'
'A stern message has to be given to the culprits. Otherwise such people with criminal mind will continue to commit crime with impunity,' Sethi said.
National Human Rights Commission finds fault with policing
Finding fault with policing in Delhi, NHRC on Tuesday said the rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus has raised the issue of declining public confidence in law and order machinery here and sought a report from the Union Home Ministry and the Delhi Police.
Taking suo motu cognisance of Sunday's incident, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the Union Home Secretary and the Delhi Police Commissioner and asked them to submit their reports within two weeks.
"The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city, especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women as a number of such incidents have been reported in the National Capital in the recent past," an NHRC statement said.
In its notices to Union Home Secretary and Delhi Police Commissioner, the Commission said, "Such acts are a grave violation of human rights."
Four men have arrested in connection with the incident with police saying that it will invoke attempt to murder charge against them and seek a fast-track trial for speedy justice. Three more are absconding, the police told a Delhi court.