M A I N   N E W S

PM says anger genuine, promises women’s safety
  Crackdown on protesters after a wave of violent clashes
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
With protests against the gang rape of a 23-year woman in the capital turning violent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm while assuring that the government would make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women in the country.

In a statement, he said he shared everybody’s concern for the young woman, who was the victim of the gang rape last Sunday night. “This is a genuine and justified anger and anguish at this ghastly incident. We are constantly monitoring her medical condition. Let us pray for her and her loved ones during this critical time,” he said in a statement.

Manmohan Singh said he felt deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces in the capital and sought the cooperation of all sections to help the government in ensuring the safety of women and maintaining peace.

Officials said the PM was constantly monitoring the situation and had held extensive talks with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit over the situation in the capital.

Probe panel
A special enquiry commission will also be constituted by a former Chief Justice of India which will investigate the rape case with the lapses by the police and the measures to be taken to ensure safety of women in Delhi and other parts of the country. The Delhi Police said a three-member committee including the former chief Justice of India JS Verma, Justice Laitha Seth and former Solicitor General of India, Gopal Subramaniam as its members will examine the possibility of enhancing punishment for rape laws.

day-to-day hearing
Taking suo moto cognizance of the rape case, the Delhi High Court has issued directions to Additional Sessions Judges to have daily hearing in cases of sexual assault. Five fasttrack courts will also come up.




India Gate turns into virtual battlefield
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
The heart of the Capital today turned into a battle zone as protesters, who had gathered at India Gate demanding justice for the gang rape victim, clashed with the police, resulting in injuries to many.

While over 50 civilians, including women and elderly, were hospitalised, there were also reports of 78 policemen getting hurt in the clashes.

Among the injured are Joint Commissioner of Police (Central Range) Taj Hassan, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Sanjay Tyagi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer district) Bhola Shankar Jaiswal and Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi district) KC Dwivedi.

Constable Subhash Tomar was injured at Tilak Marg and has been admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. He is in a critical condition. He was posted at the Karawal Nagar police station in northeast Delhi.

Security personnel were able to get India Gate cleared by 5.30 pm after using about 250 tear gas shells and resorting to lathicharge.

Twelve Delhi Transport Corporation buses and an equal number of Police Control Room vans were damaged during the protests. A vehicle of the Delhi Doordarshan was also damaged.

According to the police, the protest was hijacked by hooligans, resulting in violence and vandalising of public property. While some unruly elements uprooted wooden barricades erected for the Republic Day preparations and set them afire, others damaged police vehicles. In response, the police resorted to use of tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the mob.

Clarifying that a crackdown was necessary, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told The Tribune, “It was necessary to clear the area. Otherwise, the unruly mob would have broken through the barricades to approach Vijay Chowk.”

The Police Commissioner added that several cases of rioting and damage to public property would be registered. Dissatisfied with assurances from government officials, the protesters had started turning up at India Gate since morning defying the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC barring demonstrations in the high-level security area of New Delhi.

Throughout the day, India Gate witnessed bonfires and attacks on public property. The protesters also pelted police officials with stones. The crackdown began around 5 pm. The police chased away the protesters with the help of batons. Incidentlly, the area of protest also included the high-security Hyderabad House where Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected tomorrow.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit condemn the excessive use of force on the civilians. Later in the evening, she held a meeting with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. Addressing the media after her meeting with Shinde, Delhi Chief Minister said that she had demanded better policing for the city. She appealed to protesters to maintain calm. 





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