In a bid to contain flow of protesters near India Gate, four Delhi Metro stations near the War Memorial will remain closed from Sunday morning till further orders. The metro stations that will remain closed will be Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan and Race Course stations,
DMRC officials said.
The closing of stations for an indefinite time came following a direction from Delhi Police.
“The stations will remain closed till DMRC gets further orders from the Delhi Police. All the four stations are close to India Gate. However, interchange will be allowed at Central Secretariat station,” the officials said.
The decision was taken after protests over the gangrape of a young girl erupted in Raisina Hill, the seat of power.
Thousands of youth today clashed with police undeterred by the repeated use of water cannons, teargas shells and baton charge.
Demonstrators comprising girls and boys gathered right from the morning at India Gate and marched to Raisina Hill where Rashtrapati Bhavan and Prime Minister’s Office are located.
Delhi Police on Saturday suspended three policemen for allegedly not helping a victim of loot committed allegedly by six men involved in the gangrape of a girl on last Sunday.
The three were among eight policemen who have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
Three Constables — Kailash, Ashok and Sandeep — of Hauz Khas police station were suspended for not helping Ramadhar, who was looted by six men who allegedly raped the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus last Sunday.
Five personnel of Connaught Place police station were also suspended for not taking action against those who were consuming alcohol in the heart of the capital. It came to notice during a surprise visit by Home Secretary R K Singh last night.
Sub Inspector Rajeshwar, Head Constable Inder Pal and Constables Jagmal, Pardeep and Chottelal were suspended.
Police action condemned
Political parties on Saturday strongly condemned police action against youths protesting Sunday’s gangrape even as senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene a special session of Parliament to make existing law on heinous crimes against women tougher by providing for death sentence.
On a day of massive protests in the capital, police lathicharge and firing teargas shells on protesters near Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament House drew flak from BJP and Left parties who attacked the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi accusing them of remaining silent over the gruesome incident.
Swaraj said she had spoken to the Prime Minister and requested him to convene a special session of Parliament to frame a law to provide for exemplary punishment for crimes against women.
The Prime Minister said he will consider the suggestion, Swaraj tweeted.
The party also demanded that both Singh and Gandhi should assure the country on the safety of women.
“The Prime Minister ought to have spoken to them. The police ought to have been sensitive. The way they have been lathi charged, water cannon thrown at them and also the whole handling of the police and the administration is deeply regrettable and condemnable. BJP condemns the police action outright,” party chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Castigating the police action against protesters, the Left parties also asked the Prime Minister to assure the nation of stern action against those who brutally assaulted and gangraped a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on Sunday in south Delhi and threw her out of the vehicle along with her male friend.
Asking for an assurance that the government would take urgent steps to check such crimes, CPI National Secretary D Raja said “if the Prime Minister can address the nation on the issue of allowing FDI in retail, why can’t he find time to do so when such horrendous crimes against women are taking place.”
The PM on Saturday asked Shinde to ensure people feel safe in Delhi and incidents like the gangrape of 23-year-old woman are not repeated, officials said.
Shinde met Manmohan Singh and briefed him about the measures taken by home ministry to ensure safety of women in the national capital.
According to officials, the Prime Minister told Shinde that he should ensure a sense of security in the capital.
Law and order in Delhi comes under the union home ministry.
Police on Saturday tear-gassed, baton-charged and fired water cannon at demonstrators in the sixth and most violent day of protests against the brutal gang-rape of a student last weekend.
Thousands of protesters, most of them college students, rallied at the India Gate monument in the heart of the Indian capital and then surged toward the sprawling presidential palace.
Angry protesters shouting “We want justice” called for better safety for women across the country as police struggled to control the crowd, while the 23-year-old victim was still battling for her life in a New Delhi hospital.
Some carried banners that read: “Hang them (the rapists) now.”
On Saturday, riot police were called in and routes leading to the demonstration site were cordoned off to contain the protests in which some of the demonstrators were seen throwing stones.
Clashes erupted when a group in the crowd tried to break through police barricades and march towards the president’s house.
Around 20 students were injured in the clashes and were taken to hospital in the capital, the Press Trust of India reported.
Doctors at the hospital where the rape victim was being treated said she was in a critical but stable condition and had been removed from a ventilator.
“She is doing much better than yesterday. She took sips of water and apple juice today,” BD Athani, medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital, told reporters.
The victim is “very brave, positive and optimistic”, said another doctor, Abhilasha Yadav.
As outrage intensified over last Sunday’s attack the government apealed for calm.
“This is not a way to protest. Trying to storm buildings and breaking barricades is not a way to start a dialogue,” junior home minister RPN Singh told India’s CNN-IBN television network.
“The government is trying to do whatever it can to take measures and make sure women are safe in the country.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh weighed in, telling the home minister to ensure a feeling of security among Delhi residents.
The government said on Friday it would press for life sentences for the woman’s six attackers and promised stricter policing. They also promised to pay the victim’s medical bills.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, spokesman for the main national opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), told reporters New Delhi “is becoming the rape capital” of India.
BJP opposition leader Sushma Swaraj has demanded rapists receive the death penalty.
The number of rape cases in New Delhi has risen 17 percent to 661 this year from a year ago, according to government figures, the highest number among India’s big cities.
Experts say a combination of abusive sexual behaviour, a scant fear of the law and India’s creaky judicial system encourage such attacks in the bustling city of 19 million people.
All accused arrested
The Delhi Police on Friday arrested Akshay Thakur, the sixth accused in the gangrape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old woman, from Aurangabad in Bihar.
Thakur was arrested by a special team of Delhi Police after several raids were conducted at different locations in Bihar.
“Since Tuesday, a special team of Delhi Police was conducting raids in Bihar. The last absconding accused Akshay Thakur was arrested from Bihar’s Aurangabad Friday evening,” said a police officer.
According to the officer, the accused is being brought to Delhi.
Four other accused were arrested Monday and Tuesday while the fifth accused, who is claiming to be a juvenile, was apprehended on Thursday night.
The fifth accused, who claims to be 17 years old, was detained in a late night raid Thursday from Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun by a special team of Delhi Police.
Since he claims to be a minor, police refused to divulge his details.
“He will be taken to a juvenile justice home after confirmation that he is a minor,” said the officer.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS, AFP)