New Delhi: Delhi's Lieutenant Governor, Tejinder Khanna, who was away in the US all of last week as a law and order crisis unfolded after a young medical student was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in the heart of the city, today denied that he had been ordered back. (Highlights of Lt Governor's speech)
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told NDTV today that he "enquired" where Mr Khanna was. The Lieutenant Governor said he was visiting his daughter and had permission from the President to do so. The Delhi Police reports to the Lieutenant Governor and not the chief minister, a point of repeated criticism by many including Sheila Dikshit, who heads the Delhi government.
The gang-rape of 23-year-old Amanat (NOT her real name) has infuriated the city, which has seen violent protests in which the police has been accused of having used excessive force; satellite protests are being held everyday in other cities.
The Lieutenant Governor arrived in Delhi this morning and met representatives of women's organisations and top Delhi cops. He then spoke about police lapses like the bus in which Amanat was raped being allowed to ply in the city with tinted windows, which is against the law. He said on the Sunday evening that the incident happened cops had failed to stop the bus as it drove through a number of checkposts. He said two Assistant Commissioners of Police had been suspended for failing in their duty and two Deputy Commissioners of Police asked to give explanations.
The Lieutenant Governor pointed out that Delhi's police commissioner had apologised for any police excesses and an inquiry was on. "Restraint would have been a better model perhaps," Mr Khanna said, referring to police action on protesters over the weekend, which saw violent clashes at India Gate between the police and demonstrators shouting, "We want justice." Some carried placards that demanded the death penalty for rapists. The police used tear-gas and water-cannons against the crowd of many thousands, who defied police orders to gather at India Gate. Some tried to rush towards Rashtrapati Bhavan, where the President lives.
The Lieutenant Governor also enumerated a number of measures being taken by the police to ensure safety of women in the capital, including sensitising the police force. Mr Khanna announced that Sudhir Yadav, Special Commissioner of the Delhi Police, can be approached 24/7 on women's rights on 9818099012.
"Drivers of public transport vehicles would have to wear ID badges. They will also need to carry photo IDs. Earlier, there was no background check on drivers; the process will begin now," he told the media.
The Lieutenant Governor said that he will personally review the security situation for women in the city. Me Khanna also said strict action would be taken if police personnel are found guilty of disrespecting or misbehaving with women.