A government commission appointed to study the fatal gang-rape of a medical student in Delhi has blamed the capital's police for poor coordination, allowing the bus on which she was attacked to remain on the roads months after it failed to get important clearances.
Amid the massive protests that followed the savage attack on the student on the moving bus in December, Retired High Court judge Usha Mehra was asked to review the police's role. Six suspects have been arrested for the gang-rape and murder.
Justice Mehra has pointed out that the bus had been fined several times for different violations, and was refused basic clearances and permissions in March, but was not impounded. She said this proves a huge and dangerous gap between the transport police and other sections of the force.
However, she found that after the attack, when the student and her male companion were spotted bleeding on the road by a passer-by, a police van responded within six minutes to a call for help. On this front, she said, the police should not be faulted.
Justice Mehra indicted the thin public transport system in Delhi, stressing that more government-operated buses should run at night.
Calling for reforms that include training policemen to handle complaints of rape more sensitively, she said that even after December's attack, the response of the police to women remains "callous."
After December's attack stirred anger and a national debate on women's safety, the government appointed the Usha Mehra Commission to study the incident; three legal experts formed the Justice Verma Commission, which suggested changes needed urgently to laws that deal with crimes against women.
Some of the Verma Commission's recommendations were included in a new set of anti-rape laws cleared by the government, which must be approved by Parliament within six weeks.