Late last night, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited Safdarjung Hospital, where she met the 23-year-old victim's parents. She has also written tough letters to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asking them to ensure the safety of women in the capital, which sees a rape every 22 minutes, more cases than all other Indian metros put together.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said this morning, "Sonia Gandhi should not demand action, her job is to act." Mrs Swaraj, who said in Parliament yesterday that the death sentence must be introduced for rapists, also said today, "This case should be held in a fast track court...hang the guilty in 30 days." Women MPs of the BJP-led NDA are protesting outside Parliament today. (See special feature: Who said what)
After Mrs Gandhi's demand for immediate action in the case, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde summoned top Delhi police officials this morning to take stock of measures being taken by them. After the meeting he said he will make a statement in Parliament at noon.
Mr Shinde also made a statement in Parliament yesterday promising steps to ensure better security for women, including the setting up of a special committee headed by the Home Secretary to frame guidelines. This after angry opposition leaders asked the government to explain what it's doing to protect women in an increasingly unsafe capital.
The victim of Sunday's gang-rape is in hospital in critical condition on a ventilator support system. Her male friend who tried to protect her on the bus but was beaten on the head with an iron rod has been discharged from hospital. (Read)
The driver of the bus, Ram Singh was remanded to five days in police custody yesterday. He refused to undergo a test identification parade.
The other three men arrested in the case - the driver's brother Mukesh, a gym assistant Vinay Sharma and a fruitseller Pawan Gupta - are expected to be produced in court today. Two other men are missing; police teams are conducting raids in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.
The police have added the charge of robbery against the accused after a man in Delhi approached them on Tuesday claiming that he was travelling on the same bus barely an hour before the gang-rape, and was robbed of Rs. 8000 by the men on board before being made to get off the vehicle near the IIT campus in South Delhi.
The National Human Rights Commission or NHRC has issued notices to the Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar and Home Secretary RK Singh in connection with the gang-rape. The commission said, "Such acts are grave violation of human rights. 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." The officials have been asked to submit a report to the commission in two weeks. (Read)
Police sources say that when the woman and her friend boarded the bus, the attackers began harassing her about being out at night with a man. Her friend intervened and they began beating him with a rod. She tried to protect him and the men on the bus decided she "should be punished," said a senior police source. (Read)
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