A day after being named Delhis Lieutenant Governor,Najeeb Jung said that law and order in the Capital would be his top priority. Jung,who is Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia,takes over from Tejendra Khanna who came under fire for his handling of the situation in the wake of the December 16 gangrape and the public uproar that followed.
The change of guard at the Raj Niwas comes months before Delhi goes to polls to vote in a new state government.
I would imagine that law and order would be my top priority, Jung told reporters in his Jamia office on Tuesday. He maintained that as a Lt Governor, his priorities in office would be the same as any other citizen of Delhi including security of women and Delhis expansion. When I get going,my priorities would be based on this.
Born and brought up in Delhi,Jung said that though concerns for womens safety were grave now,the issue had always been there in the last 50-60 years. Even as a young man in the 1950s,we believed that girls could walk freely in Mumbai or Marina Beach but not in Delhi. He said it was a very realistic issue that needed to be dealt with. I am concerned as a father when my daughter goes out in the evenings and past 12 oclock,I start messaging her.
Jung believed that his experience as a bureaucrat would hold him in good stead. I have an advantage,I have been a police officer in my earlier years and I have been in the field in the IAS as a district magistrate for ten years,so I have gut instinct that has developed over time, he said. He added that since he had not had spoken with the police commissioner or other officers yet,he would first take stock of measures put in place over the last six months before announcing specific measures.
Incidentally,Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Khanna have not been on the best of terms,particularly over issues of law and order and land – both are under the Lt Governors purview. When he was asked about the friction between the Delhi government and the Lt Governors office in the past,Jung said,If the ambitions of the government and the LG are the same,that we should provide good law and order,then I see no conflict.
Jung also ruled out the possibility of another probe into the Batla House encounter. Muslims should not be compartmentalised as a group. I believe that this large entity needs a leg-up in education and that is why this government declared Jamia as a minority institution, he said. He added that it was not right to say that a Muslim Lt Governor would better represent the Muslim community. There are expectations from the community but I would rather that an individual should think and act as an Indian even when we agree that Muslims need hand-holding.
Answering questions regarding illegal settlements,Jung said that the issue of their removal would have to be dealt with sensitivity. When we talk of resettling people,it requires rare sensitivity. I would be very concerned with these settlements and I would like to see them resettled as soon as possible, Jung said.