Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit admitted yesterday that she did not have the courage to meet the victim of a brutal gang rape in hospital and also that she is unhappy with Delhi being labelled as India’s rape capital.
Dikshit, India’s longest-serving woman chief minister, also said that her “hands are tied” regarding law and order as it does not fall under the Delhi government.
Delhi has reported over 600 cases of rape this year, according to police. Dikshit said the rape of a 23-year-old woman by six men five days ago “has touched the pinnacle of cruelty and insensitivity both by police and society”. Her comments come as widespread protests have broken out in the capital and in other places over the gang rape.
“I frankly did not have the courage to see her, I only met her parents and doctors. It would not have been right to break down in front of her parents. The incident has touched the pinnacle of cruelty and insensitivity both by police and society,” Dikshit said.
“This case is the most painful thing I have seen happening as chief minister or a citizen.”
On Delhi being labelled as “rape capital”, the chief minister said: “I do not like my city being described as rape capital but it is out in the open that it has become one. I have a daughter and daughter-in-law. I am concerned about all girls in the city.”
On her government’s role with regard to the law and order situation, she said: “I do feel my hands are tied because law and order is not under me (Delhi government). Unfortunately I do not have the police under me...if police were under me I would have suspended a few policemen. The buck stops with the police commissioner and (Delhi’s) Lt Governor. I have not had a word with the Lt Governor (Tejendra Khanna) yet , he is not here,” she said.
Dikshit also said her government is striving to make Delhi a safer place for women.
“We need to strive towards a situation where girls do not need to be escorted. Where people think of a girl, irrespective of her attire, as sacrosanct. I will not make false promises but I am striving to make it better,” Dikshit said.
Dikshit said her government has decided to bring out a draft bill, which would act as a deterrent to crime.
“We called NGOs and police a few days back and decided to make a draft bill, a bill which acts as a deterrent. Once it is made we will send it to the centre,” she said.
Hundreds of people have rallied in protest in the capital in the five days since the incident.