The scene at India Gate on the later half of the day was like a civil war zone. Thousands of students, after a violent clash with police in morning, came towards the barricades at 1 pm, shouting slogans and carrying placards. 

Unaware of police action at the barricades, where protesters had started to hurl stones and even overturn a car, those who had gathered near Amar Jawan Jyoti remained peaceful, demanding justice for the brutal gang rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapist.

At 5 pm, Delhi Police personnel and some Rapid Action Force jawans slowly came forward towards the barricades, stopping just a few metres short of the line of protesters, who continued to shout slogans, sing and dance.  

“We came here to seek justice for the victim, and harsher punishment for the perpetrators. All we want is that the government must act,” said Saket resident Ritika Mandloi.

While the protesters kept on shouting slogans, police asked them to leave, but they did not listen. All of a sudden a few stones came flying towards policemen. “It seems that they were waiting for stones to be pelted,” said Govindpuri resident Sammer Mirza.

At least a thousand policemen armed with baton, water cannon and tear gas rushed towards the protesters.

Even senior officers, who had tactfully briefed their personnel, rushed towards India Gate firing tear gas shells.

Then they chased the protesters till Amar Jawan Jyoti.

The chaos did not stop there. Police continued to chase them in the lawns of India Gate, sometimes beating protesters, tourists and even journalists. In all this time they kept on
firing tear gas and water cannons.

The protesters were pushed towards Tilak Marg and Ashoka Raod. Within half an hour, they vacated the whole area and parked their vehicles wherever they saw a bunch of protesters.

Cops terror

Police did not spare even BJP leader Vijay Goel, who came with his two daughters at India Gate. He and his daughters were also canned.

“I don’t understand why police lathicharged peaceful protesters. The police commissioner has to answer for this. This was not called for,” he said.

Yogendra Yadav of Aam Admi Party was also hit. “They came and hit everyone. There were school girls shouting slogans amid the violent crowd. There was no need for this,” said Yadav. At least 40 people were injured in the crackdown, but only two CATS ambulances were available to ferry the injured to hospitals.  

By 6.30 pm, police cleared the whole area, though a few protesters returned and demanded answers from police for the crackdown. All the senior police officers did not answer to anybody, and avoided the media too.

At 7 pm, some 100 drenched students gathered in front of India Gate, shouting slogans. “We will not move from here till the government hears our grievances and give us a safe Delhi,” said Ankit Sharma, a student.

Police said hooligans had entered the students’ protest, pelted stones and damaged public property. By the end of the day, over 100 people were injured and some 250 tear gas shells were fired.

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