New Delhi: The police in a brutal display of force lathicharged thousands of people protesting against the gang rape case at Raisina Hills. Tear gas shells and water cannons were also fired to disperse the crowd.
Several protesters mostly comprising of youngsters have been severely injured in the lathicharge. But this has not deterred them from continuing their protest. The angst has spilled on to the streets with protesters shouting slogans against the government.
Thousands of people converged at India Gate early on Saturday and marched towards the high-security area of Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding justice for the rape victim. The protesters refused to leave the place despite repeated warnings from the administration after which the police resorted to lathicharge.
The rape victim is currently battling for her life in a hospital.
The protesters started arriving at the site since early morning, and were soon joined by former Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh.
Police have arrested all the six accused in the case but public anger has been swelling against the incident.
More rape cases shock nation
More incidences of rape shocked the country with several reported from the national capital in the last 24 hours.
A 40-year-old woman has alleged that she was raped in her house by three men at knife-point on Wednesday, police said.
Two of the accused have been arrested."The incident was reported from east Delhi's Welcome area.
Another case of a three-year-old girl being raped in a play-school in West Delhi was reported, prompting the Delhi government to ask the police to take stringent action against its principal.
Protests held outside Rashtrapati Bhavan
On Friday, large protests were witnessed at Raisina Hills, where Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister's Office and Home Ministry are located, India Gate, Jantar Mantar and near Safdurjung hospital throughout the day demanding speedy and stringent punishment to the rapists.
A group near Safdurjung Hospital blocked traffic in south Delhi, shouted slogans against police and government besides demanding speedy justice for the 23-year-old victim.
Emotional and angry protesters, numbering over 500 at Raisina Hills and India Gate, carried placards which read 'My Body, My Right', 'Rape is Ape: Have You Evolved?', 'Dress is not Yes' and 'Rape is Only Crime Where Victim Becomes
Policemen tried to prevent them by making a human chain but the women protest managers broke the cordon and headed towards high security Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Though security personnel managed to lock the main gate, one of the protesters, identified as Swati, managed to get inside the premises but was later escorted out.
"They say we need permission to enter there. Why do we need permission? When we are attacked and harassed, nobody needs any permission. We are here to raise our voices and for that we need permission," Swati said.
After sometime, the protesters went back to India Gate but later some of them again marched back to Rashtrapati Bhavan. This group of protesters were detained near Vijay Chowk.
Two days ago in a similar protest, around 200 people had gathered near North Block. They had dispersed only after Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde agreed to meet a delegation of JNUSU students.
At India Gate, the protesters were joined by CPI leaders A B Bardhan and D Raja, who demanded stringent punishment for the culprits.
"This is ugly and heinous...There should be a deterrent punishment. We cannot tolerate this anymore. There should be justice...Government should feel some shame. Some feeling of shame should be there," Bardhan said.
"It is true that the administrative control of Delhi Police is with Union Home Ministry, but Sheila Dikshit could have at least assured the people that she will take up this matter with the Home Ministry rather than blaming it," Raja said.
A section of the protesters, who had come from Delhi College of Arts, expressed their anguish through a small play.
A foreign national from Sweden who also accompanied the protesters to the India Gate said there was need for improvement in the law and order in the city.
"I have been here since last two months and I have experienced it myself. I strongly feel that there is a need for more security for the women here," she said.
At Jantar Mantar, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) staged a protest demanding that a special session of Parliament be convened and pass a law ensuring that a rapist be punished within a month.
They also brought families of rape victims to their protest.