The government on Wednesday urged people to "be patient" and let the investigation into the death of a Delhi policeman after a gang-rape protest reach its logical conclusion.
"The investigation is underway. Everybody needs to be patient. We are taking all the steps that are necessary to take this matter to its logical conclusion," information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said after a cabinet meeting.
"We are working towards making all the cities in the country safer for our sisters and mothers," he added.
The Delhi Police has said that 47-year-old constable Subhash Chand Tomar was badly beaten up near India Gate during street protests Sunday against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman who remains in critical condition.
Police also said that the constable, who joined Delhi Police in 1987, was injured in chest, neck and head and that protestors had kicked and punched him after he fell on the street. The policeman was cremated Tuesday with state honours.
Finance minister P. Chidambaram said that the government was waiting for the port-mortem examination report of the constable.
"A case has been registered. The matter is under investigation," he said.
"My appeal to everyone is, a person has died in a situation where a serious criminal offence has been registered. We must observe restraint in commenting on the incident," Chidambaram added.
However, a journalism student Yogendra, who claimed to be an eye-witness, contradicted police version that Constable Subhash Tomar was beaten up by protesters leading to his death, saying he fell down on his own.
Delhi Police declined to be drawn into the controversy with its spokesperson Rajan Bhagat saying "no comments till the post mortem report is out".On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar had said that Tomar had suffered internal injuries in his neck, chest and stomach and were waiting for the post mortem report to ascertain the exact cause of his death. Tomar died Tuesday morning.
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party demanded sacking of Commissioner Kumar alleging that police was misleading people by arresting eight "innocent youth" in connection with the incident.
Doctors at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said the Constable had no major external injury marks when he was brought to the hospital and that he had suffered a heart attack.
"I was at India Gate with a female friend who was injured. I saw one policeman who was running after protesters and then suddenly collapsing. We rushed towards him and some policemen were also there. Suddenly, the policemen started running after other protesters.
"So I rushed to a nearby PCR van. They took him to hospital. I also went in the same vehicle. I saw him in hospital and his body didn't have any injuries. He wasn't trampled by a mob, he wasn't assaulted. The claims of police are false. I am surprised to hear that 8 were arrested over Subhash Tomar's death," he claimed.
Reacting to Yogendra's claims, Kejriwal said his account was opposite of what police said. "Is police lying?" he asked.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav also alleged that the TV footage showed opposite of what the police was saying.
"Police claims the rioters had hit him, he was trampled upon by protestors and this is why he has collapsed. The footage showed he collapsed on his own. The evidence is in the public domain, it suggests the contrary," he said.
AAP chief Spokesperson Manish Sisodia alleged police was "politicising" Tomar's death to cover their mistakes and demanded that Kumar be sacked.
"Delhi Police should have dealt with the matter with sensitivity and honoured the constable's death. But, the police have politicised the death to cover their own mistakes. We feel that the Delhi Police are involved in a conspiracy. The police commissioner should be sacked," he said.
(With inputs from IANS, PTI)