Stations shut, torturous walk to India Gate

As Delhi Metro announced that seven stations close to the protest point will remain shut on Sunday, students from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, apart from women activists and other civilians, first gathered at Nizamuddin and then went towards India Gate.

Protesters are demanding speedy trial and justice for the 23-year-old gang rape victim.

“We want to know what the government is doing about rape cases, apart from just giving assurances,” said Shikha Gupta, postgraduate student of JNU.

“Why can’t these politicians address us, give us the updates. While they sit in the comforts of their offices, it is inhuman to use water cannons and tear gas shells on weaponless protesters,” said Gupta.

The immediate demand of the students and activists are to fast track one lakh pending rape cases in 100 days. “Register FIRs on all complaints of rape, sexual harassment and crime against women; ensure special session of Parliament to pass gender sensitive laws, and sack the police commissioner,” said Roshan Kishore, JNU student.

“The home minister should either commit to these demands or quit office,” said Kishore.

The protesters said hooliganism by a section of people was retaliated by water cannons and tear gas. Over 100 rounds of tear gas shells and intermittent water cannons were used all day long.

 Another section said stone-pelting at the cops was anger towards police insensitivity for using violent means to disperse the crowd.

“Many were lathicharged. Women were beaten up by police. First you provoke the protesters, then you say that such violent means were retaliation,” said a protester.
Students asked the public to remain peaceful.

They were also angry about entry and exit points to the protest venue made inaccessible by the authorities. “What is wrong with these politicians? They cannot stop us from protesting. They are generating more hatred by indulging in such cheap tricks in the name of security concerns,” said a student of Indraprastha University.
Candlelight vigils by student unions were also announced in Jantar Mantar and India Gate. Students seemed concerned about the issue being politicised with the entry of youth wings of political parties.

“We have not come here to represent any political party nor with any political agenda. We have come here to express solidarity with the victim, and to join in the fight against the government,” said Aam Aadmi Party member Manish Sisodia.
Students said the government’s claim of meeting them is limited to handpicking members from their own youth wing.

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