Never one to duck a controversy, Delhi Police Chief BN Bassi today declared, "It will be our pleasure to shoot or hang (the) accused in cases of crime against women if the Constitution of India permits us." It doesn't.
"There are some 150-200 males who see a woman only as if they are seeing them in a porn movie. That's why they see (even) a two-month-old baby or an 80-year-old woman as targets," the 59-year-old police chief expounded at a media briefing.
In a comment expected to broaden the rift with the Delhi government, he further said, "It is the good fortune of Delhi Police that it is not under the Delhi government."
The reason, he said was that the Delhi Chief minister has what he called "local interests" but the Prime Minister and the Home Minister do not. As a result, he said, the Delhi Police do not come under political pressure as is possible elsewhere.
"The people of Delhi are 100% fortunate that the Delhi Police is not under pressure. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister take interest in Delhi. Only the Delhi Chief Minister does so," he said.
Delhi's police force reports to the Union Home Ministry and not the Delhi government and the control of the police has long been a bone of contention between the Centre and the state.
Mr Bassi, a vocal supporter of the present system, has clashed repeatedly with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose administration accuses him of trying to undermine the state government to please the Centre.
Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party has repeatedly accused the police of failing to maintain law and order, once pushing Mr Bassi to challenge the Chief Minister to a debate.
Today, Mr Bassi said his department has decided to arm 1,000 traffic police men with weapons, but he did not specify the purpose.
The traffic police, which is very stretched due to the manpower crunch, will have choppers next year to help maintain order on Delhi's roads, he added.