New Delhi: A two-hour face-off between about 300 student protesters and the police near India Gate, ended peacefully this evening. Cops video-graphed the protest and were ready with tear gas and water cannons, but did not have to use them, much to the relief of the Delhi Police. Since December 16, when a young woman was raped by six men on a moving bus in Delhi, there have been near-daily protests in the Capital. The medical student is now in the ICU of a super-speciality hospital in Singapore, where her condition has been described as "extremely critical".
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
- The protesters began walking from Nizamuddin in south Delhi towards India Gate, but were stopped at the Nila Gumbad at a Zakir Hussain Marg intersection. There, four lines of barriers and policemen separated them from India Gate.
- The students protested there, holding up placards and shouting slogans, but did not attempt to bring down barricades or break police cordons. They sought the removal of the city's Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, as well as fast-track trials for rape cases and stricter laws for crimes of sexual assault.
- The protesters, mostly young students and women, said it was wrong of the police to have declared all areas of the Capital, except for Ramlila Maidan and Jantar Mantar, off-limits for demonstrations. "This is my city...I should be able to walk wherever I want to, especially at this time," said a woman protester.
- Over the weekend, protests at India Gate were punctuated harshly by clashes with the police. A constable died on Tuesday after collapsing during Sunday's violent demonstrations in the heart of the Capital.
- Since then, the police has said that any demonstrations must be confined to either the Ramlila Maidan or Jantar Mantar.
- The student who has stirred India's conscience was flown to Singapore last night on a highly-specialized air ambulance. Her doctors and parents accompanied her. (Read)
- She arrived "in extremely critical condition", according to a statement from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she has been admitted. The hospital is renowned for its expertise in multi-organ transplants. Her treatment there could take weeks, said the government and doctors who were attending to her in Delhi.
- The Prime Minister today pledged to take action to protect the nation's women. "There can be no meaningful development without the active participation of half the population, and this participation simply cannot take place if their security and safety is not assured," he said. (Read)
- A parliamentary committee today summoned Delhi's top cop and Home Secretary RK Singh to discuss the horrific assault and safety for women in public places. Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that more women constables are being added to the force.
- The government has set up two committees in response to the protests. One is looking at how to amend criminal laws to enhance the punishment for those convicted of sexual assault. The second will examine what lapses might have contributed to the gang-rape - which took place on a moving bus that passed through police checkpoints - and suggest measures to improve women's safety.