New Delhi: The 5-year-old Delhi rape survivor's condition is stable, doctors said, and she is still on a semi-solid diet. Meanwhile, the second accused, Pradeep, was brought to Delhi from Bihar on Monday and is likely to be produced in court on Tuesday. The other accused is in custody till May 4. Protests are also likely to continue on the streets and in Parliament after Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar refused to take the blame for the shoddy state of women's safety in the national capital.
There were multiple protests across the national capital against the rape of the 5-year-old girl in East Delhi. In earlier protests, there was a demand for better laws and amendments. This time apart from that, protesters directed their anger mainly on the Delhi Police Commissioner.
CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, "I strongly believe that the police commissioner must resign. If he does not resign, the Home Ministry must act."
But the government does not seem keen on showing Neeraj Kumar the door as yet. And a defensive Kumar himself didn't seem too perturbed as he finally spoke to the media 96 hours after the incident. He even told CNN-IBN that he is being targeted by those he had once arrested.
The political class wants Neeraj Kumar to be made accountable for law and order lapses on his watch. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said, "Neeraj Kumar's head should roll. Is Neeraj Kumar accountable or not accountable? His ACP slapped a girl protester, police refused to register an FIR, is Neeraj Kumar accountable or not accountable?"
However, protests this time have been smaller and spearheaded by the Aam Aadmi Party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Demonstrators, who scaled barricades near Parliament on Monday, said they are angry as authorities failed to prevent the attack.
"They are helping the culprits to get away with the crime. A simple, speedy investigation would have found her quickly," said Pratap Samal, a protester outside Delhi Police headquarters.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after opposition politicians left their seats and challenged the Speaker, some demanding discussion of the rape case. Others were protesting against corruption and other issues.
Anticipating protests, Delhi Metro closed two more stations on police instructions to prevent gatherings near India Gate and the Prime Minister's residence but they reopened in the evening. Women's organisations took out a march towards Parliament demanding removal of Delhi Police Commissioner and other officers in the wake of the rape case.
The protesters had gathered at Jantar Mantar in the morning and started their march later. They tried to break barricades and march towards Parliament but were prevented by police.
The demonstrators were led by CPI(M)-backed All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sangathan, National Federation for Indian Women (NFIW), All India Student's Association (AISA), All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) and activists from the Student's Federation of India (SFI).
"We are not satisfied with the removal of officers. We want departmental enquiries into the matter. We also demand the arrest of the police officer who slapped and injured a protester," Rashpal Kaur, member of Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Sangathan, said.
AIPWA member Kavita Krishnan said, "We are going to meet the Home Minister and the Lt Governor and demand the removal of the errant police officers who did not register complaint filed by the parents of this girl in the first place." The demonstrators also demanded the resignation of the Home Minister following reports of another rape in Silchar.
"We are protesting against the human rights violations and the government cover-up. We don't think society has taken the problem of crime against women seriously in India," Rihanna, member of a US-based women rights group who joined the demonstrations, said.
The fact remains that after the brutal December Delhi gangrape, the Delhi Police had ordered increased patrolling on 255 spots and sensitising the force to contain crime. The state government, too, started a women's helpline while Parliament passed a stricter anti-rape law, but on the ground women and the girls are still facing atrocities.
That removing the commissioner will change this is probably wishful thinking. But someone needs to be answerable and accountable and this outrage on the streets is an indication that the people have had enough.
(With additional information from PTI and Reuters)