Delhi protesters caned; panel to probe gang-rape

Delhi protesters caned; panel to probe gang-rape

Rape victim stable, records statement in front of SDM

Delhi protesters caned; panel to probe gang-rape

Police fired tear gas shells, resorted to lathi charge and used water cannons on students protesting against the gang-rape of a girl in a moving bus, marring the otherwise peaceful demonstrations on Saturday, even as the government promised to amend criminal law for enhanced and more effective punishment in the rarest of the rare cases of sexual assault.

After a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde also declared setting up of a Commission of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952 to review responses to this shocking crime and to suggest measures to improve the safety and security of women in the capital.

The condition of the girl, a physiotherapist, who has been battling for life ever since she was raped and tortured by six men on the night of December 16, was stated to be “improving”  although doctors fear that blood infection may spread.

She recorded her statement at Safdurjung Hospital before a sub-divisional magistrate. Her male friend, who was with her during the incident, was also present at the hospital, the police said.

The victim’s statement was recorded before a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and senior police officers at the Safdurjung Hospital.

Deputy Commissioner of police Chhaya Sharma said the victim was eager to give her statement and was happy to know that all the six accused had been caught.

“The statement of her friend was read by a police officer in front of the SDM, which she corroborated,” said Sharma.

The India Gate, the Boat Club, the Vijay Chowk and the Raisina Hill witnessed a sea of humanity as school and college students thronged the Delhi power corridor since morning and stayed put till late in the night. Innumerable police barricades, water canons, teargas shells or lathi charge failed to dent their determination.

The crowd stood in front of the barricades shouting slogans every time the police resorted to lathi charge and opened water cannons. Drenched in water and in teary eyes due to teargas, students, armed with placards and posters, kept shouting slogans demanding justice for the 23-year-old victim, who has been given the name “Amanat”.

The police lathi-charged these students, who came on their own to express their anger and disgust against the government and the police over women’s security, about six times during different parts of the day. The police used around 50 teargas shells and three water cannon vehicles injuring around more than 40 people during protest. 

A bleeding Sameer Shani, a student of Delhi University, told Deccan Herald, “ Let them fire as many teargas shells as they can. Let them beat us as much they can. All we need to know is where are they (police) when our sisters and friends are raped?”  Simran Soni, a management student, remarked: “We will return tomorrow and day after till Amanat gets justice.”

Anger was visible in the air on the entire stretch of the Rajpath from the India Gate to the Raisina Hill. Girls studying in class V to post doctorate stormed India Gate. Members of the Aam Aadmi Party led by Manish Sisodia faced the wrath of students. “Why you people have come here? What have you all done when the city witnesses rape every day,” Malini Suri, a Delhi University student, said.

There was a brief, violent turn to protests at the Raisina Hill when a group of students pelted stones and threw water bottles at the police. Seeing this, the police again used tear gas and lathi-charged them. When the group turned towards the Parliament House, they were again lathi-charged forcing them to run towards the India Gate. During this melee, few police officials threw pelted back stones towards the students in which many were injured.

While the protest continued, the doctors at Safdarjung Hospital said the victim has shown sign of improvement but the danger of infection spreading in her body continues. “Her condition has improved but infection chances continue to exist,” said B D Athani, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital at a press briefing. He added that she was alert and communicating.