New Delhi: After violent protests at India Gate against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl last Sunday, the Delhi government has pushed for the removal of the Police Commissioner for mishandling the protests, sources have told NDTV.
After a meeting with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit demanded that strict and immediate action be taken against officers and personnel responsible for dereliction of duty in connection with the rape incident. Police should be made accountable and responsive, she said.
"You will find very often that an excuse is given that so many VIPs are here, therefore we cannot look after the common person. I would say at least the highest officer who happens to be in that area, in charge of the area where the incident took place, should be held accountable," said Mrs Dikshit.
Mrs Dikshit rushed to Mr Shinde's residence immediately after presiding over an emergency Cabinet meeting which expressed serious concerns about the prevailing law and order situation in the Capital. (Read: Sheila Dikshit raises excessive VIP security with Home Minister)
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, meanwhile, ruled out his resignation over the horrific gang-rape incident in the national capital, saying he is not a "quitter".
"I don't believe in quitting. I am not a quitter," Mr Kumar said yesterday. Mr Kumar said he will continue in his job as long as he is asked to.
The protest against the brutal gang-rape of Amanat (NOT her real name) began on Saturday as thousands of young people gathered at India Gate and marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding justice for the girl.
On Sunday, however, the protests turned violent with the police clashing repeatedly with students and others protesting. The policemen were seen thrashing a girl, a car was over-turned and set aflame and barricades were thrown aside before being set on fire.
A constable of the Delhi Police, Subhash Tomar, is in critical condition at a Delhi hospital after being injured in the protests at India Gate. Several other protesters and at least 78 others policemen were also injured.
The jarring scenes on Sunday showed how a heartfelt movement led largely by students has devolved into riots because of unrestrained excessive measures by the police, an infiltration by miscreants and an unresponsive government that has failed to interact with protesters except through press conferences.
"We tried stopping them. They were using abusive language. When we asked them to back off, they refused. We also requested them not to throw water bottles at the police. There are many of them who are drunk and are eve-teasing. They have come here just to have some fun," said young a woman at the protest site.
Asked whether he had any regret over the police action in dealing with the protesters at India Gate today, Mr Kumar said every situation could be handled better.
"Maybe there were some lapses here and there. But by and large, the situation warranted this kind of action," he added.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul invited a group of protesters into her home on Sunday morning and told them that they would ensure action is taken In the case of the six men who have been arrested for last week's gang-rape. (Read) The protesters said later they were disappointed that the leaders did not commit to any deadlines.
(With inputs from PTI)