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Anger over gang-rape makes people take to Delhi streets

New Delhi, Dec 21, 2012 (IANS)
Indian people offer prayers as they hold candles during a candle light vigil in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The hours-long gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women.AP Photo

The capital Friday witnessed a series of protests at various spots, as angry people gathered on the streets to voice their anger against the brutal gang-rape five days ago of a 23-year-old woman who battles for life at Safdarjung Hospital.

Hundreds of angry women activists and students marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of President Pranab Mukherjee, demanding strong action against the rapists.

Shouting "We want justice", the protestors reached gate number two of Rashtrapati Bhavan. They tried to stop the vehicle of a senior official in a bid to force their entry into the premises.   "We started our march from Rail Bhavan and reached Vijay Chowk, we moved towards Rashtrapati Bhavan and South and North Blocks, but police stopped us," one of the protesters said.

Policemen said the crowd attempted to force its way into Rashtrapati Bhavan, but was diverted back to India Gate. "About 250 protestors thronged the high-security zone of Rastrapathi Bhavan. We had to divert them back to India Gate," a senior polcie official told IANS.

Swati, a student at the YWCA, managed to slip past the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan, but was whisked back by policemen.  "They do nothing to protect us, and when we want justice, they say we need permission to enter the president's house. Such a heinous crime has occurred, and they expect us to seek permission to protest," Swati said.  

Among the protestors were members of the All India Democratic Women's Association, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU). The protests continue at India Gate in central Delhi.

Another group of protestors demonstrated near Safdarjung Hospital in south Delhi, where the savaged woman is battling for her life. Yet another group, under the aegis of the newly launched Aam Aadmi Party, has been sitting in protest at Jantar Mantar in central Delhi.

Many people have rallied in protest in the capital in the five days since the incident.  The residence of Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, the police headquarters, Jantar Mantar and India Gate have all witnessed gatherings of protestors, as the victim, a physiotherapist intern at a private hospital, lies critically injured in Safdarjang.

The savage rape and torture occurred Sunday night, when the woman and her male friend boarded a private bus in south Delhi after watching a movie. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was brutally assaulted by six men. Her male friend, who tried to save her, was also beaten up by the rapists.

Both victims were stripped and dumped by the roadside near the domestic airport, after the nearly 40-minute ordeal in a moving bus.


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