India's interior minister has ordered each police station in New Delhi to beef up the number of women officers to facilitate complaints from women. It is the latest in a string of changes that follow the fatal gang rape of a student that shocked the nation.
Interior Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday said each police station in Delhi should have 10 female constables and two female sub inspectors.
"We will be posting these women very soon according to this order by diverting staff from other places and making them available in Delhi," police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.
Currently, females make up 7 percent of police forces, he said.
New recruits will be selected in the next three to four months, and training will take an additional nine months, he said.
Bhagat denied that the new directive was implemented solely because of the rape, but its implementation is aimed at helping women.
The directive is necessary because "we need overall more women in the police station as other women feel more comfortable with female officers," he said. "If all women complaints are attended to promptly situations like that of the gang-raped medical student may have been avoided."
The interior minister also said he is working with security officials to strengthen laws regarding rape and assault.
The men accused in the gang rape that led to the death of the 23-year-old Indian woman were formally charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in a New Delhi court Thursday.
The attack on the woman, who died last week from her severe injuries, has appalled and enraged many Indians, prompting widespread debate over the way the country handles sexual assaults and the treatment of women in Indian society.
Numerous protests have taken place, new laws have been proposed and senior lawyers in the court district where the accused men have been charged say they will not represent them.
Police submitted charges against five suspects before a new fast-track court in Saket, a southern district of New Delhi, said Suman Nalwa, deputy police commissioner of a special unit for women and children.
He said authorities were waiting for the outcome of a bone marrow test before deciding whether a sixth suspect in the attack, believed to be a minor, will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.
The results of the test, intended to determine the suspect's exact age, should come soon, Nalwa said.
The trial will begin this week once all the evidence is gathered, he said.