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Centre stirs against assault in vehicles

A protester holds a placard during a rally asking the government to ensure the safety of women outside the residence of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday. (Reuters)

New Delhi, Dec. 19 (PTI): The Centre today announced some steps aimed to prevent a repetition of the gangrape of a student in a bus in the city, the assault drawing thousands to a vigil at India Gate in the evening.

The measures include increased police patrolling, immediate crackdown on vehicles having tinted glass and a mandatory requirement to keep lights on at night in all commercial vehicles. Buses and autos being plied by unverified drivers will be immediately seized.

Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde announced the steps in Parliament where outrage and anguish continued to be expressed for the second consecutive day by members, who demanded that the government should instill confidence in women.

Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, the second in two days, on the incident, Shinde said it had been decided to augment the police control van fleet of Delhi police by providing more vehicles, which would be GPS-enabled, so that their movement could be tracked at the central control room.

He announced an immediate crackdown on buses with tinted glasses and curtains. All such vehicles will be impounded immediately, the minister said after reviewing the situation with Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

All commercial vehicles, including buses, will be asked to keep their lights on during night while plying in Delhi. “All off-duty buses must be parked with their owners and not with their driver or staff members,” Shinde said.

The commercial vehicles found violating the contract carriage conditions or any other permit conditions shall be impounded and their permits cancelled.

The police will undertake verification of drivers and staff members of all public vehicles and all buses and autos being plied by unverified employees or drivers shall be impounded, said Shinde, who is directly responsible for law and order in the capital.

His response came as the issue kept reverberating in Parliament for the second day with members wanting to know what steps had been taken in the wake of the incident.

Shinde held a meeting with Delhi police chief Kumar during which it was decided that a drive would be launched to ensure removal of tinted glasses and curtains from buses.

It was also decided that mobile number and licence number of drivers would be displayed prominently on buses.

Victim loses most of intestine

The victim, a 23-year-old paramedical student, who was gangraped and tortured in the moving bus, underwent the fifth surgery today. She “continues to be critical but stable”, said a doctor attending to her.

The doctors at Safdarjung hospital performed an elective abdominal surgery — gastronomy and duodenustromy — and surgeons had to remove her gangrenous small intestine. The hospital said she has lost most of her intestine. “Most of the intestine, almost all portion, I would say, because of the initial loss and subsequent gangrene, is not existent,” Dr B.D. Athani, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said.