Gang-rape rage explodes; PM, Sonia seek strong action
Sustained protests over the gang-rape of a young girl in a bus erupted in Raisina Hill, the seat of power, as thousands of youth clashed with police in Delhi undeterred by the repeated use of water cannons, teargas shells and baton charge.
Demonstrators comprising girls and boys gathered right from the morning at India Gate and marched to Raisina Hill where Rashtrapati Bhavan and Prime Minister’s Office are located. It looked like a battle ground as their repeated attempts to break the barricades and reach Rashtrapati Bhavan invited at least six rounds of spraying of water jets, tear-gassing and cane charging, injuring around 30 protesters.
Some policemen were also injured in the throwing of stones and other missiles at them. Police vehicles were also damaged in the violence.
As high-drama played out at the Vijay Chowk, near Parliament House, political parties condemned the police action and demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh make a statement.
The Prime Minister called Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to his house and discussed a series of steps to ensure safety of women in the capital and to ensure that swift justice was meted out to the criminals involved in the bestial act last Sunday night when the 23-year-old woman was gang-rape. Shinde ;ater told reporters he regretted police action and they had been told to act with restraint.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also called the Prime Minister and the Home Minister over telephone and discussed the issue. She wanted appropriate action in the case. In her letter to Shinde, the Congress president had said “It is a shame for us, who are responsible for the security of our cities that a young woman can be raped in a moving bus in the capital of the country and flung on to the street.” She had also noted with concern that it was a “matter of shame” that such incidents happen with painful regularity. Ms Gandhi had also visited the Safdarjung Hospital to inquire about the condition of the victim, who is still in critical conditiom . The Congress leader said in her letter to CM Ms. Dikshit that “such violence and criminality needs not only to be condemned, it calls for a concerted effort to fight it.”
Meanwhile, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Saturday urged the Prime Minister to convene a special session of Parliament for amending the existing law to provide death sentence for heinous crimes against women. “I have just spoken to Prime Minister. I requested Prime Minister for a special session of Parliament to frame a law to provide for exemplary punishment for crimes against women,” Ms. Swaraj said on social networking site Twitter.
As the dusk fell, candle-light marches were taken at the India Gate, the scene of protests in the last few days.
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old victim has given a “fearless and bold” statement before a magistrate about the brutal assault and wants her tormentors to be swiftly brought to justice. Delhi Police said the girl’s statement corroborates with the version of her male friend who was also assaulted brutally by six men inside a moving bus on Sunday last.
- Asian Tribune -