Delhi gangrape: Centre sets up inquiry panel to identify lapses, fix responsibility

Anti-rape rally

The government today set up a Commission of Inquiry to identify lapses and fix responsibility in the gangrape of 23-year-old girl here, an issue that was discussed by the Union Cabinet with ministers expressing concern over the incident.

The one-person commission, to be headed by former Delhi High Court judge Usha Mehra, will also suggest measures to make Delhi and NCR safer for women.

It will submit within three months its report, which will be tabled in Parliament along with action taken by the government.

The decision was taken at the meeting which was briefed by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on the December 16 incident that shocked the nation and triggered widespread protests.

At the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, several ministers expressed anguish at the incident and said the government should walk the extra mile to ensure recovery of the victim and instil a sense of safety among women.

While announcing the decision to set up the Commission, Finance Minister P Chidambaram appealed to public to "believe" that steps are being taken to find lasting solution to the "problem that has plagued all metropolitan cities."

The Commission will be in addition to the three-member Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India J S Verma which is to suggest amendments in law to provide for quicker trial and more stringent punishment in "aggravated sexual assault" cases amid demands for death penalty.

Sharing public anger over the brutal incident, Chidambaram said it was a "matter of shame" that the incident happened in Delhi and the Central government has special responsibility.

"It is a shame. As a man, I feel ashamed. All of you here in this room should also feel ashamed. Why do men behave like this? We acknowledge the public anger and recognise it," Chidambaram said at the press conference addressed jointly with Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari. "We are deeply anguished at what happened on December 16 in Delhi. I join all others in praying for the recovery of the victim," Chidambaram said, with Tewari echoing the sentiments.

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