Gang-rape impact: slew of measures announced, DHC to monitor probe



New Delhi: A rising tide of outrage over the brutal gang-rape of a young paramedical student today led to announcement of a raft of measures including increased police patrolling and five fast track courts to deal with such cases and the Delhi High Court to step in and monitor the probe.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the assault against the girl in a moving bus here on Sunday night as "very upsetting" even as a fifth person--Akshay Thakur-- was detained in Bihar in the case and being brought to Delhi and police hot on the trail of a sixth person Raju, a helper.

The 23-year-old girl, who was also tortured, underwent a fifth surgery and "continues to be critical but stable", doctors attending on her at Safdarjung hospital said.

Doctors performed an elective abdominal surgery --gastronomy and duodenustromy -- had to remove her gangrenous small intestine. They said she has lost most of her intestine and remains on "ventilatory support."

Delhi Police invoked more stringent charges of attempt to murder and destruction of evidence against the six accused.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the dastardly crime, the Delhi High Court decided to monitor its investigation by directing police to carry a "high standard" probe and file the chargesheet only after the court's perusal.

"Nobody is safe," the court said, as it pulled up the police, noting such incidents repeatedly happen in the city.

Asking Delhi police how the bus, having tinted glasses, kept plying on busy roads for 40 minutes and the sexual assault remained undetected, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan directed Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar to file a status report within two days giving all details.

As the shocking crime continued to engage the attention of Parliament, Government announced increased police patrolling, immediate crackdown on vehicles having tinted glass besides impounding of buses and autorickshaws being plied by unverified drivers.

All commercial vehicles, including buses, will be asked to keep their lights on during night while plying in Delhi, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

The Registrar General of the High Court communicated to Delhi Government its acceptance of the recommendation to immediately make functional five fast track courts to deal with cases of sexual assault against women, officials said.

"It's a heinous crime. It is very upsetting," Prime Minister Singh said while receiving a delegation of women MPs who raised the gang-rape case.

Shinde said in Parliament that Delhi Police have added sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) against the accused.

Police had earlier charged them under sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting), 376 (2)(g) (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 394 (hurting in committing robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC

Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament--the second in two days--on the incident, Shinde said it has been decided to augment the PCR fleet of Delhi Police by providing more vehicles which would be GPS-enabled so that their movement can be tracked at the central control room.

There shall be immediate crackdown on buses having tinted glasses and curtains and all such vehicles will be impounded immediately, the Minister said after reviewing the situation with Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

All commercial vehicles, including buses, will be asked to keep their lights on during night while plying in Delhi.

"All off-duty buses must be parked with their owners and not with their driver or staff," Shinde said.

Commercial vehicles including buses found violating the contract carriage conditions or any other permit conditions shall be impounded and their permits cancelled.

Police will undertake verification of drivers and staff of all public vehicles and all buses and autos being plied by unverified staff or drivers shall be impounded, said Shinde, who is directly responsible for law and order in the capital.

Angry protests also erupted across the country with its epicentre being outside Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's residence, Police Headquarters and at India Gate.

Police had to use water cannons to disperse the protesters outside Dikshit's residence when they tried to bring down metal barricades.

PTI