Cops defend crackdown, blame hooligans for provoking them

Police defended the Sunday crackdown on protesters at India Gate, Jantar Mantar, near Rashtrapati Bhavan and outside Central Secretariat Metro station, saying the authorities were left with no choice as some protesters had turned violent.

Special commissioner of police (law and order) Dharmender Kumar said protesters were not stopped from holding peaceful demonstrations, but the action was initiated when hooligans among them broke through barricades and clashed with police.

“It is unfortunate that force had to be used. But quite honestly, there was no alternative. Our government is serious and we are concerned about the gang rape incident,” Kumar said. “There is no doubt that she will get justice. But there is no magic wand.”

Another official said public announcements were made regularly, asking for a peaceful protest. But certain sections of protesters forced security personnel to take drastic measures.

Cases of rioting and destruction of public property have been registered with Parliament Street police station.

Kumar asked people to stop protesting and let police do their duty. “We understand the feelings of protesters, but urge them through media to withdraw the agitation as they have shown their solidarity with the victim,” said Kumar.

“The demonstrations in New Delhi area keeps our personnel busy and it gets tough to divert staff to other districts,” he added.  According to police, India Gate area was cleared at 5.30 pm.

At least 78 security personnel were injured when hooligans resorted to stone-pelting.
“A constable posted with Karawal Nagar police station, Subhash Tomar, was found
injured at Tilak Marg and was shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. His condition is said to be critical and he has been put on ventilator,” said Rajan Bhagat, police spokesperson.
Other injured persons include joint commissioner of police (central range) Taj Hassan, additional commissioner of police (New Delhi) K C Dwivedi, deputy commissioner of police (outer) Bhola Shankar and additional deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) Sanjay Tyagi.

“The day-long protests on Sunday also left twelve Delhi Transport Corporation buses and twelve police control room vehicles damaged,” Bhagat added.

On Saturday, 35 civilians and 37 police personnel were injured when security staff clashed with protesters near Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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