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`I know Delhiites are feeling unsafe, but I am powerless

Saturday 23 July 2005

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Squarely blaming the Central Government, led by her own Congress Party, for the deteriorating law and order situation in the Capital, especially when it comes to crimes against women, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday complained of lack of power to deal with such crimes. "I know that the citizens, especially women and the elderly, are feeling unsafe. I cannot do anything about it as the police is under the direct control of the Central Government,’’ she said.

Talking to the media at a "Meet the Press" programme organised here by the Press Club of India, Ms. Dikshit said a sense of insecurity had gripped women in the Capital and she was unable to do anything as the police was under the control of the Union Home Ministry with the Lieutenant-Governor being the head in Delhi. "We do not have any power to tackle such situations and the increasing incidents of crime and rape are disturbing.’’

This is not the first time that Ms. Dikshit has sought to put the blame at the doorstep of the Union Home Ministry. Even after the Dhaula Kuan rape case this past May, she had made a direct attack on the police and the Central Government for the law and order situation in the Capital.

Ms. Dikshit said certain suggestions had been made to the Central Government for increasing the number of women constables and their deployment on patrolling duty on the Capital’s roads to instil confidence among women. She called for changes in the laws to provide stricter punishment for rape. She also felt there was a need for the police to respond in a more responsive manner to the needs and concerns of the citizens, especially women and senior citizens.

Ms. Dikshit said the police had furnished certain statistics to support their claim that the situation was not so alarming and things were getting better. "However, statistics are not comforting by themselves and there is an urgent need to put in place a plan of action to put an end to such incidents," she added.

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