A day after violent protests at India Gate over the gang-rape of a 23- year-old student, Raisina Hill turned into a fortress on Monday with heavy police and paramilitary presence in Lutyen’s Delhi. Delhi Police, fearing that the number could swell on Monday, enforced Section 144 in Central Delhi early on Monday morning, closed down all nine metro stations and blocked all key roads leading to North and South Block — cutting access to the country’s seat of power.
Later in the evening, the government suspended two assistant commissioners of police in a bid to assuage angry protestors. Delhi Lt Governor Tejinder Khanna took the decision to debar the two senior officers.
The prohibitory order was also used by police to launch a crackdown against journalists. All TV channel vehicles were asked to move out of the area. Police also stopped journalists who tried to reach North Block through the Rail Bhawan intersection. When asked why journalists were not allowed to do their job, they said there was an order from senior officers not to allow them anywhere near Raisina Hill.
But as the protestors refused to give up and moved to Jantar Mantar, the Home Ministry announced that Delhi Police would file a chargesheet against the six accused within a week.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who had earlier justified the police crackdown on protestors on Sunday, came under attack after he compared the agitators with Maoists. He also hinted at involvement of political elements behind the violence at India Gate.
“Helpline number 181 has been set up for women in distress. Proactive and enhanced patrolling by police vans and motorcycles has started along routes used by families and women returning late at night from entertainment hubs and work places,” the ministry said.
A senior Home Ministry official said that after the violent protest at India Gate they were checking the crowd continuously and there was no report of anti-social elements among the protestors on Monday.