New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the capital's police force why its top officer is not being held accountable for the barbarous gang-rape of a student on a moving bus in Delhi last month. She died nearly two weeks later; five men have been charged with her rape and murder.
The assault on 'Amanat' (NOT her real name) hit India with brute force, triggering massive angry protests and a demand for better policing in cities like Delhi. Amid the outpouring of anger and frustration, the Delhi High Court decided to seek a detailed explanation from the police of what happened that night as a school bus with tinted windows - a violation of the law - rolled through one police checkpost after another without being pulled over for inspection.
The court has repeatedly asked for details of the senior officers who were on duty that night. Today, it asked, "Why is only one ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) mentioned in the report? Why should there be no blame for the Deputy Commissioner of Police or the Commissioner?"
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is among those who has suggested that Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar must resign, accepting responsibility for the many lapses that allowed the assault on Amanat and her male friend after they boarded the bus. Six drunk men allegedly hit them with an iron rod before taking turns to rape her. The couple was then thrown naked onto the road.
Mr Kumar, the police commissioner, has refused to quit. The Delhi Police reports not to the chief minister, but the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, and is supervised by the union Home Ministry.
The government has set up a committee headed by retired High Court judge Usha Mehra to fix accountability for the attack on Amanat. Separately, the ministry has ordered an inquiry into allegations by Amanat's friend that when the couple was lying injured on the road, police officers who showed up wasted time arguing about jurisdiction and which hospital the couple should be moved to.