New Delhi, Dec 9: The shock and anger over rape of a woman in a taxi in Delhi echoed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, prompting the government to promise stern action against the accused besides steps to create an atmosphere of safety for women.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the House that this year, till November, 25,000 rape cases have been registered from across the country, which is a "national shame".
Taking a serious view of the situation, members cutting across party lines hurled questions as to how such incidents continue to occur despite "tall claims" of the government and a spate of initiatives after the infamous Nirbhaya episode of 2011 to protect women and a strong legislation.
Sharing concerns of the members, Singh said as a Home Minister, he was "pained" over such incidents. Condemning the rape of the woman in a taxi by its driver on Friday night, he said the Centre has asked all states and union territories to ensure stoppage of web-based taxi services like Uber, which are not licensees with them. Operations of Uber have already been banned in Delhi.
Singh, however, made it clear that the government was not in favour of banning taxi services but wants to regulate their operations. The government's intentions should not be questioned in this regard, he added. Making a suo motu statement and replying to queries by the members, Singh said it will be ensured that all necessary steps are taken to bring the offender to justice.
The Home Minister said the Delhi Police, which comes directly under him, is examining the legal liability of the taxi service Uber. He said the "character" certificate that the accused had obtained was fake. The accused was earlier apprehended on charges of rape and subsequently acquitted after a year.