Against the backdrop of the Delhi gang rape case, the government on Tuesday came under sharp attack from the Opposition in the Lok Sabha over the safety of women in the national capital even as Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde rejected suggestions that the city has become "unsafe".
The government also informed the House that Delhi Police has taken a number of steps for the safety and security of women in the city including intensive patrolling and creation of women help desks.
In reply to a question on the status of 'Parivartan' community programme launched by Delhi Police in 2005 to check increasing incidents of rapes, Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that the campaign, which was launched by the North-West district police in 28 beats, has now been enhanced to 198 beats.
He said 'Parivartan' is an ongoing scheme under which parents, teachers, students and youth are educated on issues related to safety of women.
Ramachandran said in the wake of the gang rape case, the home ministry has recommended creation of 1950 posts of women constables in Delhi Police for which the finance ministry has been approached. He also said city police will also get 370 patrol vans and efforts were on to upgrade the police control room.
He said as part of the 'safe city project', 5000 CCTV cameras would be installed to upgrade security.
His remarks that after the 'Parivartan' scheme was launched, crime against women have come down evoked a strong reaction from opposition parties who termed his reply as "routine".
Members from Janata Dal-United, Shiromani Akali Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties questioned his claims and said the minister was using figures to confuse the members.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said instead of giving a "routine reply", the minister should have spelt out a plan with special schemes. "...crime against women go unabated," she said.
Swaraj claimed that Delhi has been declared "unsafe capital" for women.
This prompted Shinde to intervene and reject the suggestion. He said it is not fair to make such accusations as the government has not declared the city "unsafe".
He said after the gang rape, government had set up Justice Verma committee and Justice Mehra commission to suggest changes in criminal laws and improve policing and a fresh bill to amend criminal law will be introduced in Parliament.