World | India

Indian PM urges calm as anger rages over gang-rape

Large parts of central Delhi still sealed off after wave of violent protests over gang-rape of student

  • AFP
  • Published: 11:07 December 24, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Protesters shield themselves as Indian police beat them with sticks during a violent demonstration near the India Gate against a gang rape and brutal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus last week, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. The attack last Sunday has sparked days of protests across the country.

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday appealed for calm and vowed to protect women as police struggled to quell increasing outrage over sex crimes following the gang-rape of a student.

With large parts of central Delhi sealed off after a wave of violent protests, Singh said he understood the public's anger over the "monstrous crime" but added that "violence will serve no purpose".

"There is genuine and justified anger and anguish at this ghastly incident," Singh said in a televised address.

"I feel deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces. I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women in this country.

"As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly as you. We will ensure justice is delivered," he added.

Protests have been taking place across India over the last week to denounce the police and government over the gang-rape of the 23-year-old student in the capital and the surge of violence against women.

Official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year were against women. Delhi has been dubbed the rape capital of India with the number of rapes in the city rising 17 percent to 661 this year.

The biggest protests were seen in New Delhi on Saturday, prompting police to cordon off areas around government buildings.

However fresh clashes erupted on Sunday, which the police control room in New Delhi said had left more than 100 people injured, including 60 policemen.

The clampdown was further tightened on Monday, with commuters having to make lengthy detours to make it to work.

The situation has been exacerbated with extra security already planned for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The venue for a signing ceremony and press conference with Putin and Singh has been shifted.

"No one will be allowed to march towards the parliament or the president's palace," said New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat.

"We know people will face problem because of the road block, but we have to stop the angry protest. This just cannot go on."

A television journalist was shot dead in the northeastern town of Imphal on Sunday by police trying to control a protest over the attempted rape of an actress whose attacker remains at large.

Five police personnel have been placed under suspension in connection with the shooting, the Press Trust of India reported on Monday.

Police have said some of the Delhi protestors have been intent on causing trouble and the demonstrations have been "hijacked by hooligans".

While many of the protestors have been women carrying placards, the crowds have drawn increasing numbers of young men who have been hurling stones at the security forces who have responded with teargas and water cannon.

The police's hardline tactics have drawn heavy criticism as has the government's response to the uproar.

"Both the police and the government are clueless as to how to deal with spontaneous protests," said a front-page editorial Monday in The Times of India.

"The police have been guilty of undue use of force... The government has failed to realise that these protests are signs of the people's resolve not to remain mute spectators to administrative apathy and poor governance."

The government has been on the defensive not only over the levels of crimes against women but also over the notoriously slow criminal legal system.

Ministers have now said they will consider the death penalty for the most extreme rape cases.

The victim of the Delhi gang-rape remains in a critical condition in hospital after suffering terrible injuries during her assault on a bus which began when she and a male companion were picked up after a night out at the cinema.

Police and prosecutors say six men, who were drunk and were joy-riding in an off-duty bus with tinted windows, took turns in raping the student at the back of the bus before throwing her off the vehicle.

During her assault, the victim suffered serious intestinal injuries from being beaten with an iron rod.

All six of the alleged attackers have now been arrested and remanded in custody.

Comments (6)

  1. Added 16:03 December 24, 2012

    After reading the entire news, I understand that the victim is in critical condition and is suffering a lot. If all the 6 culprits are arrested then what the government is waiting for. Why can't the government take timely actions on such issue. Why the police are throwing tear gas and water canon on innocent students. Shame on Delhi Police and our Indian higher authorities, who can't even take a right decision to punish the culprits. The innocent poor girl will never get justice and the culprits may get a chance to escape in some other part of the world to do such crime again. This is India.

    Tanveer Ali Haidery, Garhoud Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:55 December 24, 2012

    This gang rape is gruesome and horrific and will remain as a nightmare for a long time to all mothers and girls of the country. The menace of this dastardly act should have to mete out the capital punishmement, as a deterrent against repeating similar mishaps. The anger and outrage are quite natural. But this kind of public anger should not be abetted, as it will easily turn into violence and destruction of public properties. As the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointed out, that will serve no purpose. India is a democratic nation, and there are systematic ways to convey the outrage of people. History teaches us that any country which have exhorbitant street outrages and demonstrations is less progressive and will fall behind.

    N E Haque, Dubai, India

  3. Added 15:04 December 24, 2012

    While Indian PM is right in urging citizens to have restraint . Agreed that violence will serve no purpose but this is such a heinous crime that it has enraged every segment of society . With due respect to Indian PM but his speech is very disappointing . He failed to give any promise or reassure the country about the steps being taken by the Government. Public is demanding a fast conviction for the rapists, they should be given the most harsh punishment and for future there should be more stringent laws against rape. Victim is fighting for her life. Even if she survives Dr. says she wont be able to eat normal means her life is ruined, then why should rapists be given anything less than capital punishment . They dont have any right to live. Ms. Sushma Swaraj has given good suggestions to hold an all party meeting and discuss and decide on this burning issue .

    (Ms.) Madhu Madan, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:46 December 24, 2012

    ""Ministers have now said they will consider the death penalty for the most extreme rape cases." Are they joking? So now they're going to categorize rape incidents? There is no minimal / extreme rape dear minsters. Rape is rape and is horrendous on any level. Please just apply the death penalty so that such incidents are no longer the norm.

    Yasmin, Abu Dhabi, United Kingdom

  5. Added 14:29 December 24, 2012

    Under this govt. India experiences freedom of sex & not freedom of speech & expression. The Prime Minister’s statement seem to be a generalized without a word of personal grief either for the young brutally raped lady or for those women folk who had been whacked for showing solidarity. Instead, this government doesn’t have the nerve to fight the terrorists, antinational elements, criminals & the goons. It is shameless to beat the innocents who voiced their concern of personal security. Apart from 1000s of cruelty towards women folk every day, lack of security in public places, price rage, this govt. is continuously plundering our nation with scams worth billions of rupees!!! (sure this government will be endorsed in the Guinness book of world record for the number of scams). Are we Indians so naïve or obsessed with the Gandhi family?

    mahesh, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 13:13 December 24, 2012

    Its sad to see the use of force against these demonstrators. Had the law been stronger in the first place, then there would be no need for such activists to take to the streets! Why isnt this force used with the criminals. Worse still more of them are repeat offenders who go scott free since they have ties with the politicians!

    Lance Pereria, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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