With the Delhi Police in the eye of a storm over the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student on December 16, which has resulted in days of angry protests, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to set up a Commission of Inquiry to identify the lapses and fix responsibility.
The one-member Commission to be headed former Delhi High Court judge, Justice Usha Mishra, will also suggest measures to improve the safety and security of women, particularly in Delhi and the National Capital Region.
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saw Ministers expressing concern over the gangrape, which has exposed the lack of women’s safety, and the public outrage that followed it.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, sources said, had a lot of explaining to do as to “how” such an incident took place in the heart of the city and “why” the Delhi Police came down so heavily on the youth who were legitimately protesting against the incident to demand immediate action against the culprits.
Sources said Shinde was asked by his colleagues to ensure that the victim’s recovery and security is closely monitored.
He was also asked to get the Delhi Police which comes under the Home Ministry’s sway, to act in a manner that inspires confidence and a sense of safety among the women population in the city.
But Chidambaram, while announcing the Cabinet’s decision to set up an inquiry commission right after the meeting, took to advocating caution to the media.
The public, he said, must be made to believe that steps are being taken to find a lasting solution to the “problem that has plagued all metropolitan cities”.
Also making a rather personal comment, Chidambaram said, “It’s a shame. As a man, I feel ashamed. All of you here is this room should also feel ashamed. Why do men behave like this? We acknowledge the public anger and recognize it.”
I&B Minister Manish Tewari, who was also present with Chidambaram at the Cabinet briefing, echoed similar sentiments.
The Finance Minister said the Inquiry Commission along with the Justice Verma Commission was a pointer to the seriousness with which the government was looking into the matter.