Delhi gangrape protests intensify, cops fire teargas to quell clashes near parliament

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 23 2012, 01:26am hrs
Anti-rape protestDelhi Police personnel use water cannons on protesters gathering at the Vijay Chowk in New Delhi to protest against the brutal gangrape and torture of a 23-year-old student. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Students protesting against the gangrape of a young girl in a moving bus clashed with police near the VVIP gate of Parliament here this evening, following which personnel used force to disperse them.

A large number of protesters at the Raisina Hills tried to round up policemen who were boarding the bus at Vijay Chowk near the VVIP Gate of Parliament House, forcing the police team to use force to disperse them.

Some protesters threw water bottles at police, who forced the people towards Rail Bhavan on Raisina Road.

Rape Survey: Whom do you blame

Anti-rape protesters clash with police, several arrested

Several rounds of teargas shells and water cannons were used as students demanding justice for the 23-year-old gangrape victim clashed with police at the Raisina Hill, the seat of power. Several people have reportedly been arrested.

Repeated resort to firing of shells and water jets failed to dampen the spirit of several hundreds of young students, both girls and boys, as they tried to breach the police barricades to march towards towards Rashtrapati Bhavan for the second day protesting against the government and police inaction.

Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh lent support to the protesters when he joined them at the India Gate and blamed the systemic collapse for the brutal rape of the young girl in a moving bus last Sunday.

Some people were escorted away by police and detained as the situation threatened to go out of hand. A boy and a girl and a traffic policeman were injured in the melee when protesters threw stones, shoes and missiles in which police vehicles and buses were damaged.

Tear gas shells and water failed to deter the protesters who refused to vacate the area that houses the North and South Blocks including the Prime Minister's office and turned the area into a virtual battleground.

After a ding-dong battle with the police, hundreds of protesters resorted to a sit-in the area chanting slogans against the government and the police. They demanded stern measures to prevent incidents of rape and other crimes against women.

Window panes of a police van were smashed. One of the girls broke the glass window of a bus with her hands.

The police action came as 'negotiations' failed at the Raisina Hill leading to Rashtrapati Bhawan and the protesters, comprising largely young women and men, tried to breach the barricades to push towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The area has been cordoned off and police reinforcements, including a contingent of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been rushed to the Hill that divides the North and South Block, which houses the Prime Minister's Office.

Girl protesters alleged that policemen hit them with lathis and declared they will launch a sit-in in the area. Protests refused to disperse from the place.

An injured girl has been rushed to hospital.

The youths gathered at India Gate since early morning and marched through Rajpath towards Raisina Hill. They broke the security cordons erected on Rajpath and managed to reach near Raisina Hill where they were stopped.

Yesterday too, the capital witnessed several protests, including one in front of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The former Army Chief said, You see this problem is because of systemic failure of governance. Police reforms have been lying in cold storage for the last so many years. Why haven't they done anything about it Why do we have to hear such things from a police commissioner saying that he doesn't have man-power It is shameful.

Why do you have to see the spectacle on television where Ministry of Home officials have to go out on the streets checking things Isn't there a failure This needs to be addressed. This failure comes because of political and bureaucratic apathy in this country, the former Army Chief said.

Police resorted to use of water cannons and lobbing teargas shells for the third time in the day around 1 pm.

However, the protesters again gathered near Raisina Hills soon after.

On Rafi Marg near Raisina Hills, a group of students damaged a hoarding of Delhi Police.

Some of the unruly protesters were detained.

Fresh police reinforcements were rushed to control the protesters who had turned violent at Raisina Hills. Some women protesters were seen being taken away by women police constables.

While rows of policemen guarded the road leading to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, police officials near the barricades tried in vain to reason with the protesters to leave the area.