Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday admitted that she did not have the courage to meet the victim of a brutal gangrape in hospital and also that she is unhappy with Delhi being labelled as India's rape capital.
Dikshit, India's longest-serving woman chief minister, also said that her "hands are tied" regarding law and order as it does not fall under the Delhi government. Delhi has reported over 600 cases of rape this year, according to police. Dikshit said the rape of a 23-year-old woman by six men five days ago "has touched the pinnacle of cruelty and insensitivity both by police and society". Her comments come as widespread protests have broken out in the capital and in other places over the gang rape.
"I frankly did not have the courage to see her, I only met her parents and doctors. It would not have been right to break down in front of her parents. The incident has touched the pinnacle of cruelty and insensitivity both by police and society," Dikshit told a news channel. "This case is the most painful thing I have seen happening as chief minister or a citizen."
On Delhi being labelled as "rape capital", the chief minister said: "I do not like my city being described as rape capital but it is out in the open that it has become one. I have a daughter and daughter-in-law. I am concerned about all girls in the city."
On her government's role with regard to the law and order situation, she said: "I do feel my hands are tied because law and order is not under me (Delhi government). Unfortunately I do not have the police under me...if police were under me I would have suspended a few policemen. The buck stops with the police commissioner and (Delhi's) Lt. Governor. I have not had a word with the Lt.Governor (Tejendra Khanna) yet , he is not here," she said.
Dikshit also said her government is striving to make Delhi a safer place for women."We need to strive towards a situation where girls do not need to be escorted. Where people think of a girl, irrespective of her attire, as sacrosanct. I will not make false promises but I am striving to make it better," Dikshit said. Dikshit said her government has decided to bring out a draft bill, which would act as a deterrent to crime.
"We called NGOs and police a few days back and decided to make a draft bill, a bill which acts as a deterrent. Once it is made we will send it to the centre," she said. Hundreds of people have rallied in protest in the capital in the five days since the incident.
On Friday, protesters converged outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president's official residence, demanding action against the rapists. On earlier days, protesters had shouted slogans outside the residence of Dikshit, the police headquarters, Jantar Mantar and India Gate. The victim, a physiotherapist intern at a private hospital, is still critical. Her intestines had to be removed due to the brutality of the torture she was subjected to by the rapists.
The rape and torture occurred on Sunday night, when the woman and her male friend boarded a private bus in south Delhi after watching a movie. She was brutally assaulted by six men while her male friend, who tried to save her, was also beaten up by the rapists. Both victims were stripped and dumped by the roadside near the domestic airport, after the nearly 40-minute ordeal in a moving bus.
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