Delhi HC on child rape: Are people going mad?

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday expressed concern over the gang-rape of the five-year-old girl in the city, saying, “something somewhere is wrong” and wondering whether “people are going mad”.

“It is surprising, what is happening in Delhi. Something somewhere is wrong,” said a division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath.

“Are people going mad? A five-year-old has been raped… Some sort of awareness is needed,” the court observed.

The bench also asked the home ministry and Delhi Police to find out the “root cause” of the sudden spurt in rape incidents.

The five-year-old girl was abducted and kept captive for two days without food and water in the room in which one of the attackers lived, on the ground floor of a building in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar. The girl’s family stays in the same building.

The girl was rescued when the family members heard her screams April 17.

“Now we have to see how to prevent this type of crime and for that we have to find out the root cause,” the court said.

“Everybody is very sad about what is happening in Delhi. It’s a frequent thing here,” the court observed.

“Most of the accused belong to neighbouring states. How to prevent this? Look what has happened with a five-year-old kid,” the court said, while suggesting that the government should screen people coming to the national capital from various states.

The court, pointing to the insensitivity of police officials who refused to accept a missing person complaint from the child’s family, and later offered the parents a bribe for keeping mum, said, “Police should also identify the areas of training to make its officials more sensitive”.

The judges asked Delhi Police to file a report on the training imparted to its officials. “Produce what is your module for sensitisation of police,” the court told Dayan Krishnan, special public prosecutor.

It added: “As far as the awareness, sensitisation of the police is concerned, we are of the considered view that it is not sufficient… And they must be given sufficient training.”

Krishnan, appearing for Delhi Police, assured the court that “the work to sensitise the police official is under process”.

The court was hearing the case after it took suo moto cognizance of the gang-rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapist by six accused in a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012.

The court also asked the ministry of home affairs to file an affidavit detailing the departmental action taken against policemen who were deployed on the PCR van during that incident. Police in Delhi come under the charge of the union home ministry.

Meanwhile, the ministry informed the court that Delhi Police have a total of 550 PCR vans for patrolling, and it has provided 370 more PCR vans to the police, making for a total of 920 PCR vans, quite adequate for the city.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra told the court: “Out of 370 PCR vans, 250 have already been given to Delhi Police and they are under the process of customisation and rest 120 would be delivered shortly.”

The ASG also submitted the Justice Usha Mehra Commission report to the court, saying that certain actions have been taken by the ministry in pursuance of various recommendations of the commission.

The commission was constituted to look into various issues relating to safety of women in Delhi.

Also the health department of the Delhi government and city police filed a status report in the court. Counsel said that police and the government have complied with the court’s earlier directions to provide a list of hospitals where rape and accident victims can be taken for immediate treatment.

On Feb 28, the high court had asked the city government and Delhi police to ensure proper publicity to their orders that all government and private hospitals cannot deny treatment to rape and road accident victims.

The court posted the matter for hearing May 16.

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