THE NEW leaders of India's "rape capital" Delhi are to recruit a female commando force to patrol the streets and boost safety for women.
Rakhi Birla, the city's new women and child welfare minister, said she was planning to recruit ex-military personnel and experts in martial arts, to train female volunteers to walk the capital's streets. Insecurity and fear of rape has increased since the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a Delhi bus a year ago.
The brutality of the attack provoked demonstrations throughout India and forced the government to introduce new laws and tougher sentences for rape and sexual assaults.
But despite widespread outrage and the threat of faster trials, reported rapes in Delhi have doubled in the past year, from 706 in 2012 to 1,330 in the first 10 months of 2013.
However, the proposals have been questioned by women's rights campaigners, who said they were well-intentioned but would create a parallel force without the support of Delhi's police. "We need to bring more women into Delhi police, not a parallel force," said Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research. (© Daily Telegraph, London)