New Delhi: The government will set up a judicial commission on women's safety and seek changes in criminal laws to introduce death penalty for "rarest of the rare" sexual assault cases, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Saturday. The decisions came after the daylong rampage at India Gate and Rajpath, where thousands of protesters, demanding justice for Delhi gang-rape survivor Amanat (NOT her real name), clashed with the police while trying to march towards Rashrapati Bhavan and later towards Parliament.
Here are the latest developments:
- Mr Shinde said five Delhi Police personnel had been suspended. They were found lax on duty at several checkposts on the night of December 16, when the girl was driven around in a moving bus and tortured and gang-raped by six people. (Read)
- The protests at Rajpath swelled towards the evening, with demonstrators throwing stones at the police, damaging windowpanes of a bus and breaking barricades. Some policemen were seen hurling stones back at the protesters. One person was injured in the police lathicharge. (Watch)
- The intensity of the agitation shook up the government. The Home Minister met a group representing the protesters and heard out their demands. Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was briefed about the situation at Rajpath by Mr Shinde, asked him to ensure that a sense of security prevailed in Delhi. (Read) Congress chief Sonia Gandhi too spoke to Dr Singh and Mr Shinde and asked for speedy action in the gang-rape case.
- 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. Senior BJP leader LK Advani phoned the Home Minister and asked him to direct the Delhi Police to show restraint towards the protesters. (Read)
- The protests raged through the day, with thousands trying to break the heavy security cordon and move from India Gate towards Rashtrapati Bhavan in the morning. The police lathicharged them and used water cannons and teargas. A police van was damaged. (See photos)
- The protesters refused to budge from the high-security 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. At one point, 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, the gang-rape survivor gave a statement to an executive magistrate on Friday night. "Her platelet count has gone up, her biological functions are returning to normal and she had sips of water and apple juice," doctors said on Saturday. (Read)