A day after violent protests at India Gate over the gangrape of a 23-year-old girl, the Raisina Hill turned into a fortress on Monday with heavy police and paramilitary presence on all roads leading to Rajpath and other VIP addresses in Lutyen’s Delhi.
The Delhi Police, fearing that the number of protesters might swell on Monday, enforced prohibitory orders in Central Delhi in the morning, closing down all nine metro stations and blocking key roads leading to North and South Blocks — disconnecting people’s access to the country’s seat of power.
The Emergency-like situation in Central Delhi ensured that roads leading to the residences of the Prime Minister, President, Vice-President and UPA chairperson remain out of bound.
As the protesters’ anger refused to die down and they moved to Jantar Mantar, the Union Home Ministry announced a time frame for filing of chargesheet and commencement of trial against the six accused in the case.
Home Ministry officials said the Delhi Police is expected to file the chargesheet within a week and by January 3 the trial will begin.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who had earlier justified police crackdown on protesters on Sunday, also came under attack after he compared the protesters with Maoists.
Although, he failed could not explain why peaceful protesters were beaten up by the police, he said there should be limited demands.
He also hinted at the involvement of certain political elements behind the violence at India Gate.
“We have information that some political elements were behind the violence. We are inquiring into it,” he said adding that the government will do whatever it can to bring the accused to justice.
The Home Ministry also announced a host of measures taken by the government in the aftermath of the gangrape incident to ensure women’s safety in the Capital.
“A helpline with number ‘181’ has been set up for women in distress. Proactive and enhanced patrolling by police vans and motorcycles has started along routes taken by families and women returning late at night from entertainment hubs and workplaces,” it said in a statement.
A senior official in the Home Ministry told Express that after the violent protest at India Gate, they were scanning the crowd now and there was no report of the presence of anti-social elements among the protesters on Monday.
“The protest on Monday was more muted and mostly students from Army Public School-Sadar, Government Boys’ School-Karol Bagh, JNU, Ramjas and Miranda College and PGIMS-Rohtak had gathered at Jantar Mantar. There were no political groups involved in Monday’s protest,” he said.
Around 500 protesters reached Jantar Mantar by 11 am. A group of around 50 All-India Students’ Association protesters demanded visible action on the ground.
The National Broadcasters’ Association and Press Club of India expressed deep anguish over Sunday’s baton charge on journalists.
“The fact that water cannons were used at specific media locations and journalists even with mikes in their hands were injured suggests that media was targeted,” the NBA said.