The protesters who had gathered at the gates of the Delhi Police headquarters never left. After a full day of slogan-shouting. jostling and pushing off barricades on Saturday, they slept there and continued their protest on Sunday morning.
Claiming that they would not settle for anything less than the scalp of Delhi Police commissioner, students, activists and members of political parties stayed put before the police headquarters, near ITO.
Apart from the police headquarters, protests were also reported from India Gate, and near the residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Police, in strength, were deployed near the PM’s 7, Race Course Road, as well as 10 Janpath -- the residence of Sonia Gandhi.
To control the crowd near the PM’s residence, Delhi Metro’s Race Course station was closed down at 6.45 pm. “There is no definite time period as to when the station will be opened again. It could be opened tonight or tomorrow,” said a Metro official.
Reminiscent of the protests at India Gate last December against the gang rape of a paramedical student, a large gathering was organised on Rajpath.
However, police headquarters remained the epicentre of protests. People started gathering at the police headquarters from early morning. Over a 100 members of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) shouted slogans, demanding the resignation of the police commissioner. “Traffic was affected at ITO and India Gate and we had to detain around 100 to 200 people who staged protests at different locations were detained under the Delhi Police Act,” said a senior police officer.
In an apparent bid to calm down the protests, the Delhi Police distributed pamphlets among protesters outside its headquarters, promising to conduct a fast-track enquiry against its personnel accused of not helping the rape victim’s family and offering money to hush-up the matter.
“The matter will be tried in a fast-track court so that we can have a quick decision and the culprit is punished. The assistant commissioner of police, who misbehaved with a lady protester, along with SHO and the investigating officer of Gandhi Nagar police station were suspended,” the pamphlet read.
At 6.30 pm, around 15-20 protesters tried to stage a protest near the PM’s residence but were detained by the police. In the afternoon, at least 200 members of the BJP’s women wing, who were marching towards 10 Janpath, were intercepted by the police. There was reportedly a scuffle between the protesters and the police. About 102 people were detained.
JNU students took out a protest march from Patiala House to ITO Chowk at 5 pm. They also staged a ‘Chakka Jaam’. “The Commissioner has no moral right to continue. He should quit,” said JNUSU President Lenin.
Addressing a rally in Dwarka, BJP president Rajnath Singh said: “Rape cases are on the rise in Delhi. The city has become unsafe for women and our Prime Minister is silent on the issue. A PM should be lion-hearted and there should be an element of samvedanshilta (empathy). It has plummeted to zero.”
Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel demanded the resignation of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar. “The CM and Police Commissioner must resign immediately,” he said.