Issuing a fresh appeal for peace, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said government will look into delay in response in the gangrape case as also all
aspects concerning the security of women while asking people to desist from violence.
In a televised address, Singh said he and his family join in the concern for the 23-year-old victim, who was gangraped and brutally assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 night.
"As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime."
He said the government was constantly monitoring her medical condition.
His statement came as protests, which turned violent yesterday, continued for the seventh day today. Emphasising that anger at this crime is "justified",
Singh said, "but violence will serve no purpose."
Singh noted that Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has already spoken about the steps being taken to address issues regarding safety of women in the country.
"We will examine into delay not only the responses to this terrible crime but also all aspects concerning the safety and security of women," he said.
Singh broke his silence on the issue last night when he issued a similar statement saying public anger is "genuine" and "justified". Singh had also expressed sadness over the turn of events that led to clashes between the angry protesters and the police and appealed for peace and calm.
A heavy police deployment in and around India Gate is seen on Monday morning as a handful of people from Sunday's protest wait for the crowd to swell today in the area. The 23-year-old victim's condition remains critical.
On Saturday night, after a majority of protesters left the demonstration venue around 9pm, students from various colleges stayed in front of police barricades at Raisina Hill.
They gathered around bonfires, made at three different places near the South Block-North Block entry gate, and continued shouting slogans against the government and the Delhi Police.
The 100-odd agitators, including girls, lit some candles outside the South block-North block entry gate at Vijay Chowk and started singing patriotic poems.
Whenever they felt sleepy, one of them would begin shouting, 'Beaten but not broken. We will fight for justice'. Hearing this, the rest would join the chorus.
With no food to eat and no arrangement of drinking water, the agitators spent the entire night on tea and coffee sold by vendors in the night.
Some of them ate packets of biscuit and snacks brought by their friends. The same food was also offered to the police personnel who were deployed there to guard the entry gate of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Shailesh Sharma, a Delhi University student, said, "We are here for justice and the demonstration should continue round the clock."
Victim "extremely critical"
On Sunday morning, specialists from AIIMS and GB Pant hospitals advised a series of ultrasound and CT scan tests, which revealed fluid accumulation. After blood tests confirmed sepsis, doctors cut open the victim’s stomach to drain off the infected fluids.
Sepsis is a condition in which the body has a severe response to bacteria or other germs. In this case, it is suspected that the rusty iron rod used to assault the victim caused the infection.
Doctors said neither surgery nor high quality antibiotics have been able to reign in the infection, and the victim was put back on the ventilator.
“She was complaining of pain and respiratory distress, which we suspected was because of sepsis,” said Dr BD Athani, medical superintendent at Safdarjung Hospital, where she is admitted.
“She is fully conscious. She is talking and communicating,” said Dr Sunil Jain, senior surgeon at Safdarjung Hospital.
Jain, who added that infection had been a concern from day one, said the next eight to 10 days were “extremely critical” for the patient.
“She is very critical. While her pulse rate, urine output and other parameters are in control, her bilurubin, which indicates infection, has gone up to 6.3 as against 1, which is very high. She is definitely not out of danger,” said Dr MC Misra, chief, AIIMS trauma centre.
Doctors are also worried about her continuously falling platelet count. Till Saturday evening the platelet count was 41,000, but on Sunday it dropped to 19,000. The normal platelet count in a healthy individual is over one lakh 20,000.
The protests, largely by students, saw hooligan elements mingled in the crowd uproot wooden poles erected for the Jan 26 Republic Day event and set them afire at five places.
They upturned vehicles, smashed window panes of buses and other vehicles and also hurled stones and water bottles on policemen in response to tear gas and baton attacks to prevent protesters from marching towards Raisina Hills, where prohibitory orders were put in place.
By night, roads in the area were littered with sandals, shoes, books, hand-held banners, bags and water bottles, left behind by those who fled the protest site in panic due to the baton charge.
Special Commissioner of Police Dharmendra Kumar urged all protesters to head home as security forces cleared street after street once darkness set in.
"The movement has been taken over by hooligans," he said. "We want people to go home so that we can isolate the hooligans."
A police constable was seriously injured in the stoning. Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said it was "unfortunate" that police had to use force against the protesters but the situation warranted the action.
As many as 143 people, including 78 police personnel, were injured at India Gate.
Accused produced in court
Two of the Dec 16 gang-rape accused told a Delhi court once again that they had committed a horrible crime and "deserved to be hanged". They, however, refused to undergo an identification exercise.
Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Kumar sent accused Pawan Gupta, 19, a fruit seller, Vinay Sharma, 20, an assistant gym instructor, and Ram Singh, the bus driver, to 14 days judicial custody, after police said that custodial interrogation was not required.
PM and ministers appeal for calm
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there was "genuine and justified anger and anguish at this ghastly incident" but appealed for calm and assured that "all possible efforts" would be taken to ensure security and safety of women in the country.
"I appeal to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm," he said, according to a tweet by the Prime Minister's Office.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj urged the government to call a meeting of all political parties to discuss the rape.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit appealed for calm and said providing security to public should take precedence over VIP security.
"I want to emphasise, even if there is need to cut VIP security, it should be done," Dikshit told reporters after a meeting with union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi told a group of men and women -- her second meeting with protesters -- that the rapists would be tried quickly and also charged with attempt to murder.
(With inputs from HT, PTI and IANS)