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Sep 10, 2013 at 08:55am IST

Protests, clampdown: How the Delhi gangrape got the nation outraged

New Delhi: The brutality of the December 16 Delhi gangrape got the entire nation to step out and speak up. Despite the ill-advised police clampdown, the public pressure could just not be bottled in. Even as the braveheart battled for her life in the ICU, huge protests played out on the streets.

Countrywide protests started soon after the brutal gangrape with demands for justice for the Delhi braveheart and safety for women. What began as a dignified protest, rose in pitch on December 22 as protestors marched up from Delhi's Jantar Mantar to India Gate and all the way up to Raisina Hill.

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But what the protestors got was water cannons and tear gas shells. The police clamped down on demonstrators by shutting public transport, but the protests only gained momentum.

Even as the braveheart's life was slipping away, each day saw pressure mounting on the government to speak up. Finally a usually silent Prime Minister did speak on December 24. "We will examine without delay not only the responses to this terrible crime but also all aspects concerning the safety of women and children and punishment to those who commit these monstrous crimes," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

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Four months later, the passing of a stricter anti-rape law reflected the power of public protest and came as the silver lining in a terrible tragedy.