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'Water cannons, tear gas should have been avoided'

January 25, 2013 19:03 IST

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna on Friday disapproved of the police’s baton charge on protestors after the December 16 gang rape incident, saying it could have been avoided.

His comments came two days after the Justice J S Verma Committee, which looked into laws to tackle sexual offences, described the police action as one which "scarred the Indian democracy".

"I think we have a very professional force in Delhi. My own view is that the use of water cannons and tear gas should have been avoided. When it was just a peaceful protest by young people, I thought that was not called for. After I came back, there was a big meeting. The police commissioner was there; he also expressed his regret," Khanna told reporters.

Emphasising that street agitations are a way to draw the attention of the government towards an issue, he said there should be a combined effort to solve the problem.

"I have met people from some colleges and universities and they expressed the need of deploying security personnel outside colleges. In my view, there is a need for a special security force in front of schools or colleges. Support is needed from women activist groups also. Police and citizens need to cooperate and we should learn from foreign countries," Khanna said.

He added that people who do not know how to respect women should think twice whether they are fit to stay in the national capital.

He also emphasised the need for cooperation between police and citizens to ensure a safer environment for women.

On police reforms, Khanna said, "I told police officers that if you want to be successful in your duty, you need to create a relationship of respect with the citizens of Delhi. Listen to their problems seriously. A relation of trust need to be built up. There is a need to connect with the police and citizens to make a difference. The police need to take an initiative first."

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