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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Protests in Delhi over rape of minor girl; PM for collective efforts to end 'depravity'

PTI  New Delhi, April 21, 2013
First Published: 19:19 IST(21/4/2013) | Last Updated: 21:43 IST(21/4/2013)

Women and student activists on Sunday converged near India Gate, which had witnessed largescale anti-rape protests in December last, demanding justice for the five-year-old rape victim in the national capital.

Student protesters from JNU tried to march towards India Gate but were prevented from moving closer. They staged protest near Patiala House court complex. Some students were stopped near Taj Mansingh hotel.

Women activists also reached near India Gate in a march from Central Secretariat breaking barricades erected on way. However, they were stopped near India Gate where they staged the protest.

The protesters shouted slogans against Delhi Police and government and demanded stringent punishment for the culprit and policemen who refused to help the victim and her family.

India Gate and Rajpath had witnessed violent protests in December last when thousands of activists had converged there against the brutal rape and assault on a young Delhi girl, who died later, in a moving bus in south Delhi.

As protests intensified, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said collective efforts were needed to root out such "depravity" from society.

An anguished Singh also said that "vast improvements" were required to ensure women's safety in the country.

"The gruesome assault on a little child a few days back reminds us of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society," he said.

"It is widely accepted that, as a country, we have vast improvements to make in these (safety, security and status of women) areas. These issues came into sharper focus after the horrific gangrape incident in Delhi last December," the prime minister added.

The two brutal incidents--gangrape of a girl in a moving bus on December 16 last year and rape of a five-year-old girl earlier this week--had led to agitations by various sections, demanding better law and order to ensure women's security and stringent punishment to the culprits.

The Prime Minister said the agitations that have followed the two incidents also point to the need for showing concern and sensitivity while dealing with public anxiety that such incidents generate.

"Our government has moved with speed in strengthening the law to be able to deal more effectively with offences against women. However, this is but a small part of what needs to be done," he said, inaugurating the 8th Civil Services Day function here

"All of us, as responsible citizens, have a special obligation to contribute to the social and economic empowerment of women in our country," he added.

With protests against the rape of the five-year-old girl continuing in the Capital, a tight security net was thrown at Vigyan Bhavan, the venue of the event.


People are protesting against the rape of 5-year-old girl outside the AIIMS. Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times

Scores of people protesting the rape of the minor girl descended at police headquarters and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's residence on the second consecutive day on Sunday raising slogans and demanding removal of Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.

Placard-wielding protests also gathered at AIIMS where the girl is undergoing treatment.

Workers of BJP's womens wing, Mahila Morcha, were detained from near Gandhi's residence a little after noon as they broke barricades to move forward while AAP activists stay put at the Police Headquarters since morning.

Though the gatherings are not as big as they were after the December 16 gang rape of a physiotherapy student, the anger among the protesters is the same and palpable as they shouted slogans against government and police.

Shouting slogans like "enough is enough", the BJP protesters broke a few barricades and tried to enter 10 Janpath, residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, when police used force to disperse them. BJP activists were detained and later released.


People are protesting against the rape of 5-year-old girl outside the AIIMS. Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times

At the Police Headquarters, scores of AAP members staged protest demanding removal of the Police Commissioner and arrest of policemen who were allegedly lax in dealing with the case of the girl.

Traffic at ITO was not affected as the number of protesters was not big.

On Saturday, there were protests at PHQ, AIIMS, Gandhinagar Police station and also at residences of the Congress chief and Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

The five-year-old girl was brutally raped and assaulted allegedly by her neighbour. She was held captive and starved for two days in east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar. The girl also contracted infection from foreign objects inserted in her body.

A group of Aam Aadmi Party activists on Sunday tried to stage a protest demanding removal of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar outside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence and were detained.


Police officers escort a man (C), accused of raping and torturing a five-year-old girl, at a court in Muzaffarpur. REUTERS Photo

The activists reached Singh's 7-Race Course Road residence and tried to break the barricades to enter the high-security premises as their party served an "ultimatum" to the government to remove Kumar by this evening.

Around 5 PM, the activists tried to enter the premises but were prevented by security personnel, including Rapid Action Force.


People are protesting against the rape of 5-year-old girl outside the AIIMS. Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times

The activists were detained and taken to a nearby police station.

The AAP activists were holding protests in front of Delhi Police Headquarters for the past two days demanding the removal of the Commissioner.

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