Indian police use tear gas and water cannons as thousands try to storm presidential mansion in New Delhi in gang rape protest
Saturday 22 December 2012
Police in India's capital used tear gas and water cannons today to push back thousands of people who tried to march to the presidential mansion to protest the gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus.
Several protesters suffered injuries when they repeatedly tried to break through steel barricades in a high-security zone in New Delhi. Police fired tear gas and chased the protesters with sticks, and some of the protesters attacked police with stones during sporadic clashes throughout the day.
The see-saw battle became fierce in the evening as a large number of protesters ran toward the nearby parliament building and again targeted police with stones and sticks. Hundreds of police deployed in the area chased them away. The demonstrators later regrouped and lit candles as the dusk fell.
The protesters were demanding the death penalty for all the six suspects who have been arrested by police following the 16 December attack in New Delhi.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that the government would examine this demand expeditiously and announced an official inquiry into last Sunday's rape attack and to suggest measures to improve safety and security of women.
Mr Shinde said five New Delhi police officers have been suspended for lack of prompt action following the rape attack.
He also met a delegation of student demonstrators and urged them to end their protest.
The attack last Sunday sparked days of protests across the country from women demanding authorities take tougher action to protect them against the daily threat of harassment and violence. On Friday, Indian officials announced a broad campaign to protect women in New Delhi.
Some of the protesters carried placards reading "Save women. Save India" and "Hang the rapists".
VK Singh, a retired Indian army chief, joined the protesters and blamed "political and bureaucratic apathy for crimes against women." He demanded immediate police reforms to train and arm security forces.
CPN Singh, a junior home minister, appealed to the demonstrators, who were mostly students, to protest peacefully and avoid vandalising government property.
"The government is hearing you and taking steps necessary to ensure the safety of women," Mr Singh told reporters.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, a spokesman for the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, however, condemned the police action against the protesters and asked government leaders to talk to them.
The home minister also announced that GPS units will be installed in government buses to prevent them from straying from their allotted routes. Also, bus drivers in New Delhi will be required to display their identification prominently in the vehicles and remove tinting from their windows.
Police reinforcements rushed to the high-security area as the crowds of protesters swelled this morning on the lawns near Parliament House. The area is a high-security zone, with the presidential mansion, the prime minister's office and various ministries located there.
The victim and her companion were attacked after getting a ride on a chartered bus. Police said men on the bus gang-raped the woman and beat her and her companion with iron rods as the bus drove through the city for hours, even passing through police checkpoints. The assailants eventually stripped the pair and dumped them on the side of a road.
The victim is recovering from injuries in a New Delhi government hospital.
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Migrants crossing the Mediterranean: Pope Francis joins calls for EU action on boat refugees
Yemen crisis: Meet the child soldiers recruited by the Shia Houthi rebels who have forsaken books for Kalashnikovs
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Isis in Afghanistan: Group claims responsibility for Jalalabad suicide bombing that killed 35
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...