Overwhelmed by the savagery of the Delhi gang rape, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit broke down during Teekhi Baat on IBN7 with The New Indian Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla. Excerpts:
As a mother, grandmother, sister, if 600 rapes are reported within a year, you must be feeling pained.
I do. Such savage incidents in a city like Delhi is a matter of shame.
Do you think that criminals in the city have no fear?
Not at all
There is a perception that people elected you to save them, but you don’t have the power.
Yes, that is why I said, I will do however much I can do.
But the police chief does not report to you
Let them not do it, but I will report to them.
Why did you not ask for those powers in the past fifteen years?
I have asked, studies have been organised on law and order. I have said let security be with the Centre but law and order should be with the state government. I said this three times, to various committees, everybody.
Don’t you think such criminals be hanged?
I cannot talk on hanging, it should be given in cases of murder, but there is a discussion on that issue. But the punishment should be a deterrent.
You speak of sensitivity, but no political leader has spoken much on this issue. You were hassled, went on television, there were slogans against you. Rather the issue became politicised.
Yes, I am afraid so. Everybody has felt pain regarding this incident. I went to meet the family, I did not have the strength to go and see the victim. I spoke to her father two-three times a day. One polite voice at the other end, later I went and met the two of them, sat with them for forty-five minutes. I told them what has happened to you, understand that it has happened with the whole country. And the whole country is with you. They are from a lower middle class family, mother is in tension, they have two sons. I told them I cannot provide a solution to what you are suffering and nobody can give it. But if you need anything, ask without any hesitation. If we have to send the girl anywhere in the world for treatment, we will send her... (breaks down) ...this is our responsibility. We will do as much as we can. But to see their plight....
I can understand a mother’s sensitivity
It is everybody sensitivity, and everybody should have sensitivity.