New Delhi: It's the morning after the police crackdown on the anti-rape protesters at India Gate. The government has apologised for it, but says that it cannot allow protests at India Gate. Adamant protesters, however, have said that they will be back.
As a precautionary measure, nine metro stations around India Gate, namely Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Khan Market, Race Course, Rajiv Chowk and Barakhamba will be shut on Monday.
Police and protesters clashed through the day on Sunday before a final crackdown in the evening. Police rained lathis and fired tear gas to drive away protesters.
More than 140 protesters including mediapersons and police personnel, who were covering protest at India Gate, were injured in Sunday's clashes at India Gate. One police constable, Subhash Tomar, has been seriously injured and is battling for life at Delhi Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
The protesters, who have been demanding justice for the 23-year-old survivor of the brutal gangrape and vicious physical assault in a moving bus by a group of men, accused the police of using brute force and demanded Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar's resignation. However, Kumar ruled out his resignation and said that he "did not believe in quitting" and would continue to do his job even as he admitted that his force could have handled the situation at India Gate in Sunday in a better way. The comment came after Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit demanded that senior police officers should take accountability for the gangrape incident and the crack down at India Gate.
Justifying the action against protestors at India Gate, the Police Commissioner said that hooligans and political elements had hijacked the peaceful protests which resulted in violence and destruction of public property, and so they were forced to use teargas and water cannons to maintain law and order in a highly sensitive area of the national capital which includes Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhawan and important government offices.
Meanwhile, Sheila Dikshit met Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to review law and order situation in the capital. After meeting Shinde, Sheila said that the movement will lose its seriousness if it's politicised.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also made a statement to reassure protesters on Sunday saying, "I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women in this country. There is genuine and justified anger at this ghastly incident. We are constantly monitoring her medical condition."
Earlier in the day, Congress President Sonia Gandhi met a group of protestors and assured them that all steps will be taken to fast-track the case so that the assailants get punishment.
Various political parties have demanded a special Parliament session to convene a special session of Parliament for amending the existing law to provide death sentence for heinous crimes against women. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj called for an all-party meeting and made an appeal to youths not to resort to violence, saying this is not the solution.
Gangrape survivor conscious, but serious
Six km away from India Gate, at the Safdurjung hospital, the 23-year-old rape survivor continues to fight for her life. Doctors say her condition has deteriorated. After being off ventilator support for more than 36 hours, she had to be put back on it. Doctors say she is conscious, her vitals are stable but her condition is serious.