Students try to flush out holed-up authorities

Protesters lathicharged, they retaliate with stones

College and school students, who gathered outside the Raisina Hill on way to Rashtrapati Bhawan on Saturday, performed street plays, shouted slogans, resorted to stone pelting and burnt effigies throughout the day. They demanded justice for the 23-year-old gang rape victim.

They came together in large number at India Gate and marched towards the presidential mansion, shouting slogans ‘We want justice’ and ‘We want safe Delhi’. Protesters sought capital punishment for the six accused arrested in connection with the December 16 gang rape case.

Placards reading ‘Don’t teach not to get raped. Instead teach not to rape’, ‘Zero tolerance’, and ‘Don’t let them loose, hang them’, were a common sight.

Around 100 students from Indus Valley Public School in Noida Sector 62 — led by teacher Ashwani Sharma — were part of the protest and one of the first to gather there. They arrived around 9 am and held street plays till noon demanding that speedy and stringent punishment should be meted out to rapists.

“Our team consists of class 11 and 12 students, and all of us feel extremely ashamed while thinking about the heinous act. With the help of street plays, we want to send across a message that all of us must adopt stringent measures to prevent the society from deteriorating further,” Sharma said.

Though the school team held a peaceful protest, many others resorted to violence as they tried to breach security to reach President Pranab Mukherjee’s doorstep.

They, however, had to face police action instantly for trying to break through the steel barricades in the high-security zone. When police resisted their attempts, agitators resorted to stone pelting and threw back tear gas shell fired on them. Some were even seen resisting baton charge and attacking police officers.

Anuj Singh, a BCom student from Dyal Singh College, confessed that he threw coins on the police teams and was part of a group which used abusive language while shouting slogans.

“I decided to be a part of the protest as I want Delhi to be a safe city for my mother and sister,” said Singh.

“I hope that our protest will force the authorities to take a tougher action to protect them against the daily threat of harassment and violence. These initiatives can make city safer for every woman who feels unsafe while travelling,” Singh said.

At the end of the day, several coins, water bottles, footwear, stones and placards were seen strewn on both sides of the North Block and South Block where many offices of ministries are located.

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