Rage at brutal rape erupts in India

Water cannon and tear gas used against protesters shocked by horrific attack

Delhi

Police in Delhi yesterday used water cannon, tear gas and baton charges to disperse crowds of demonstrators protesting over the gang-rape of a student which has outraged the country.

The protesters, many of them students chanting "we want justice", had gathered close to government ministries in the capital and had tried to push their way past barricades towards the official residence of the President. Police said they were trying to avoid hurting anyone but that they were obliged to protect the high-security zone.

Several thousand protesters had gathered following a week of mounting anger after a 23-year-old female paramedical student and a male colleague were severely beaten and the young woman raped by a gang of men driving around the city in a bus. Though rape and sexual assaults occur frequently in Delhi and other parts of northern India, the savage nature of the attack, which has left the woman in hospital in a critical condition, has triggered widespread outrage.

Among those taking part in yesterday's protests were a mother and daughter, Kalpana Permar, 19, and Monica Singh, 48, from the state of Uttar Pradesh. Mrs Singh said the last time she had joined a demonstration was in the aftermath of the 1978 murder of sister and brother Geeta and Sanjay Chopra, before which Geeta was raped.

"At that time I was a teenager but now I have come to support my daughter at this protest," said Mrs Singh. Her daughter, a philosophy student at Delhi University, said she had joined the demonstrations because of the nature of the attack. "This is not just a rape. It is a crime that has happened in our country. It is very shameful," she said.

Another protester, Shilip Yadav, said few women felt safe in Delhi. "Not at all. Not even 1 per cent. Not in the morning, not in the evening. Even though this is the national capital," said the 21-year-old student.

Protesters who had gathered at the bottom of Raisina Hill, where many government ministries are located, said they wanted the protest to be peaceful. But as the day drew on there were clashes with police, and several people were reportedly injured. Some protesters threw stones, rubber flip-flops and plastic bottles.

But the anger seemed targeted more at the government than the police. Demonstrators have been demanding fast-track courts, tougher laws and leadership from politicians. "We want a safe city," said another student, Shuchi Gupta.

The government has been accused of being slow to respond to the protests, which grew in the aftermath of last Sunday's attack, which ended with the woman and her friend dumped naked by the roadside.

The government said on Friday that it was seeking life imprisonment for the assailants. Many protesters, however, have been demanding the death penalty for the five suspects arrested and the sixth alleged attacker who remains at large.

The main opposition has demanded a change to the law, prescribing the death penalty for rape. Last night, the office of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said new measures had been agreed to protect women in the capital.

Many protesters were angry that no one from the government came to meet with them. According to the Associated Press, C P N Singh, a junior minister in the home ministry, told reporters that the government had urged protesters not to damage property. "The government is hearing you and taking steps necessary to ensure the safety of women," Mr Singh said.

Doctors treating the victim, from the state of Uttar Pradesh, said they had never seen injuries so severe from such an attack. She has had to have part of her intestine removed because doctors were fearful of the threat of gangrene.

The victim and her companion were attacked after getting on a private bus, thinking it was a normal vehicle, after a visit to the cinema. Police have said the men on the bus, many of whom come from a slum in the south of the city, gang-raped the woman and beat her and her companion with iron rods as the bus drove through the city for hours. Adding to the public horror, it was later revealed the bus had driven through several police check-points.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job ? This is a new post...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing...

KS2 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Expenses: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randstad Educat...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week