New Delhi: Protests near Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday against the gang-rape of 23-year-old medical student Amanat (NOT her real name) intensified in the evening, with the demonstrators throwing stones at the police, damaging the windows of a bus, breaking barricades and attempting to move towards Parliament. The police lathicharged the protesters, injuring one person. Some policemen were seen hurling stones back at the protesters. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi spoke to the Prime Minister and Home Minister and asked for speedy action in the gang-rape case.
Here are the latest developments:
- Sources said the government has decided to set up a special judicial commission on women's safety and is considering amendments in the law to provide death sentence in rarest of rare rape cases.
- Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj called up the Prime Minister and demanded that a special session of Parliament be held to consider death sentence for heinous crimes against women. Her demand was echoed by many protesters at Rajpath. Senior BJP leader LK Advani phoned Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and asked him to direct the Delhi Police to show restraint towards the protesters.
- A short while before that, Mr Shinde met the Prime Minister and briefed him about the protests at Rajpath. Manmohan Singh asked him to ensure that a sense of security prevailed in Delhi.
- Protests raged through the day, with thousands trying to break barricades and move from India Gate towards Rashtrapati Bhavan. The police lathicharged them and used water cannons and teargas. A police van was damaged. (Watch)
- The protesters refused to budge from the high-security area at Raisina Hill and clashed with the police and Rapid Action Force again towards noon. Ten students were injured and another police vehicle was damaged in the fresh round of clashes.
- The police made announcements from speakers, asking the protesters to maintain peace. "We want to speak to you and address your issues, please listen to us... Please choose a few representatives we can speak with," it was announced.
- Roads leading to the North and South Block, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Vijay Chowk were blocked.
- The police called in reinforcements; six protesters were arrested.
- The Home Ministry requested for calm. "The protesters should not turn unruly... this is our message to the protesters through NDTV... It doesn't help to break government property. This must stop immediately... It is taking away the sincerity of the protests," said RPN Singh, Minister of State for Home.
- At the Safdarjung Hospital, doctors continued their efforts to save the gang-rape survivor. "Her platelet count has gone up, her biological functions are returning to normal and she had sips of water and apple juice," doctors said.