Sunday, December 23, 2012

Delhi rape: Raisina Hill turns battle zone

The government Saturday faced the full blast of youth power as young men and women laid siege around Raisina Hill, the seat of power, demanding justice for a 23-year-old gangrape victim, forcing police to use canes, tear gas and water cannons on the undeterred crowd of thousands.

The country’s highest seat of power was turned into a virtual battlefield as thousands of furious and determined youngsters marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s house, raising slogans and demanding justice for the gangrape victim and tougher laws against rapists.

While the entire stretch of about 2.5 km from India Gate to Raisina Hill was packed with protesters, the fury towards authorities was palpable miles away.

The numbers kept on swelling as all roads literally led to the president’s house in an unprecedented protest rarely seen earlier. The mass outpouring for the young woman even overwhelmed the securitymen, who found themselves outnumbered. But despite the police barricades, the surging crowd kept pushing ahead.

The police then resorted to caning, threw tear gas shells and sprayed the crowd with water in the winter chill. Police resorted to canning at least three times. Armed with banners, posters, placards, the crowd, which stayed put at the entire stretch from morning till late evening. Many of them climbed atop police buses and waved the tri-colour.

But Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said “agitation is not the solution” and “when they defy law and order, government has to use force”.
Protests were also witnessed in Kanpur, Jhansi, Lucknow, Meerut and Kolkata.

The aggression of the youngsters and the mass outpouring since early Saturday morning, led Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to ensure that people feel safe in Delhi and incidents like the brutal gangrape of the physiotherapist are not repeated.

Shinde met Manmohan Singh and briefed him about the measures taken by his ministry to ensure safety of women in the national capital.

A concerned Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also spoke to the prime minister and home minister and asked them to take appropriate and immediate action to protect women in the city that is often described as the “rape capital”. A shaken Shinde later told reporters that the government will set up a commission to probe the incident that has shocked the nation.

“A probe will be conducted to look into the incident and suggest measures to check such crimes in Delhi...the Criminal Procedure Code will be amended to enhance punishment in such rarest of rare cases,” Shinde, who said he is also a father of three daughters, told reporters in a hurriedly convened press conference.

Govt. to take stringent action
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde assured that the government would file a chargesheet in the case soon and also appealed to the people to maintain calm.

Addressing a press conference along with MoS Home RPN Singh and I&B minister Manish Tewari, Shinde said the government had requested the court for a speedy trial in the case. He also assured that action will be taken against errant policemen who were on duty at checkposts on the fateful night.

Rarely, if ever, have so many people taken to the streets in so many different places for a single cause. It seems to be an unstoppable momentum. Shinde also hinted that government may consider death penalty in rarest of rare rape cases.

Five policemen have been suspended for negligence of duty, Shinde added. He further said that the “government will see if the existing rape laws can be enhanced”, adding that he will consult the Law Ministry for the provision of death penalty. However, he ruled out a special Parliament session for discussion on amendment of rape laws. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had earlier demanded a special Parliament session to discuss amendment of sexual harassment laws so as to introduce death penalty for the accused.


Post a Comment