Shinde gets to work: No curtains, no tinted glass, verification must

Amid anger and outrage over the gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic student, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday announced in Parliament a series of steps to instill confidence in the city's residents.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is learnt to have told women MPs who met him that he has directed the Home Minister to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice and such incidents do not recur.

Shinde, in a suo motu statement in Parliament, promised immediate crackdown on all buses and commercial vehicles in Delhi with tinted glasses and curtains. All such vehicles would be impounded immediately, he said. The Home Minister said police patrol vans could not detect Sunday's crime as the bus had tinted glasses and curtains.

Apart from this, he said all commercial vehicles will be directed to keep their inside lights on at night while the Delhi Police would launch a verification drive of bus staff.

"All buses and autos which are plied by unverified staff shall be impounded," he said.

The issue continued to agitate MPs both in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, as many demanded swift action against the perpetrators and steps to ensure safety of women.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar asked the government to take measures to address the grievances of women members.

"I would want the government to immediately issue appropriate guidelines to ban the maligning of character of victims of such offences in any way. A senior woman IPS officer should be appointed to look after all cases of crime against women and for the purpose of redressing the grievances of women. Intensive training programmes for gender sensitisation of police forces must be organised. This is the sense of the House," Kumar said.

Shinde also met the Delhi Police brass on Wednesday. It is learnt that the 28-year-old friend of the victim was the centre of discussion.

Police officers who briefed the minister about the case reportedly told him that it was the victim's friend who helped them solve the case as he gave out "small but key details".

Shinde had asked police commissioner Neeraj Kumar for a detailed review of the case. Following this, the police chief with his team comprising DCP Chhaya Sharma, Special CP (law and order) Dharmendra Kumar, Joint CP (Traffic) Satyendra Garg and Transport Secretary Rajendra Kumar reached North Block.

Sharma gave a narrative of the entire sequence of events leading to the arrest of the four accused to the Home Minister. Sharma reportedly told Shinde that analysis of the CCTV footage near Mahipalpur where the bus involved in the crime took U-turns twice was a clincher for investigators.

"Commercial buses are engaged for longer routes and when we saw this bus taking U-turn near a Mahipalpur flyover twice, we knew there was something suspicious. The accused were looking for a place to dump the victims. The victim's friend had given us vital clues and we could match the description with this footage," Sharma was quoted as having told Shinde.

Among other safety measures, Shinde announced increasing the number of GPS-enabled police patrol vehicles on the roads and said drivers of public transport vehicles from now on will have to display their licence along with their photographs and helpline numbers inside the vehicle.

"All off-duty buses must be parked with the owner and not with the driver and staff. All those commercial vehicles and buses found violating the contract carriage conditions or any other permit condition, shall be impounded and their permits cancelled," he said.

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