“The need of the hour is to send a strong message to the criminals”

A day after a young girl was gang-raped and brutally assaulted in a city bus, Delhi Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia said the State government was looking into the possibility of installing closed-circuit television cameras in buses to ensure safety of women.

Expressing anguish over the heinous crime, the Minister said: “The assault and rape was committed by the bus crew members and the brutality has shocked the city. I have already spoken to the police authorities and asked them to ensure that those involved in this shameful crime are brought to book at the earliest.’’

“It is a matter of shame and concern that crime against women is rising in the city and criminals after committing such crimes are wandering freely,’’ she added.

Dismissing the suggestion of the Minister as just another gimmick, National Federation of Indian Women general secretary Annie Raja said: “Technology cannot replace the need for strict laws to protect women. We are living in a State where the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit instead of providing security to women had said that women should not go out alone after dark. Sadly in this case, the victim was accompanied by her male friend, so ideally she should have been safe. The incident has yet again highlighted the utter failure of the Central and State governments. The need of the hour is to send a strong message to the criminals that crime against women will not be tolerated.’’

Seconding the view that public surveillance alone is not the solution, SRG Techno Pvt. Ltd., (a company offering security solutions) director Ajay Gupta said: “The onus of protecting themselves lies with women, public surveillance has its limitations.

“It is not feasible to have CCTVs in buses, because we don’t have the manpower to access the footage. It is one thing to install a CCTV inside a bus, but how do we relay the feed to a centralised place where it can be viewed and assessed. Through technological interventions we can spot a bus parked illegally, but we cannot see what’s happening inside in real time. It makes more sense for women to carry electro stunning devices to protect themselves.’’

A former student of Loreto Convent and now a senior journalist, who did not wish to be identified, said: “The incident sounds like the Sanjay-Geeta Chopra case. They hitched a ride at Dhaula Kuan. I recall after the case the nuns at Loreto instilled the fear of god in us as far as thumbing a lift was concerned.”