Gangrape case: Verma panel raps Home Secy for lauding Delhi Police

Home Secretary R K Singh faced the ire of the Justice J S Verma committee which said he should have sought an apology from the Delhi Police for failing to protect citizens instead of praising the force in the aftermath of the gangrape of a young girl.

Singh got the rap for his praise of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar during a press conference after the force arrested six persons in connection with the December 16 gangrape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old paramedic, which sparked off nationwide outrage.

"The Commissioner of Police was given a pat on his back by no less than a person holding the post of Home Secretary. I was shocked to see that," Verma told a press conference here after submitting the report on measures to improve laws dealing with sexual offences against women.

He said the least he would have done was to seek an apology for the failure of the duty to protect citizens and "instead of that (what did we see)".

Commenting on the protests, Verma complimented the youth for their mature response. "Youth has taught us what we, the older generation, were not aware of. I was struck by the peaceful manner in which the protests were carried out...the youth rose to the occasion," he said.

However, the panel was critical of the police response to the protests after the incident. "The lathicharge on peaceful demonstrators after the December 16 gangrape has scarred the Indian democracy," it said.

The panel also noted the "peculiarity" of city government not having any control over Delhi Police, which reports to Union Home Ministry.

This is the reason given publicly by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for the absence of responsibility of her government, it said.

"This ambiguity must be removed forthwith so that there is no divided responsibility in Delhi in respect of maintenance of law and order. Such a step is also essential to maintain accountability," it said.

The panel was of the view that the "undisputed facts" related to the incident "unmistakably" disclose the failure of many public functionaries for traffic regulation, maintenance of law and orderand more importantly, "their low and skewed priority" in dealing with complaints of sexual assault.

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