Anticipating protests following the death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim, Delhi Police on Saturday stepped up security in the capital closing India Gate and Raisina Hill for the public besides 10 Metro stations.
A large number of police personnel were deployed at Rajpath, the stretch connecting India Gate and Raisina Hill where large-scale protests were witnessed last weekend, and roads leading to this was closed.
Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar last night tweeted, “praying hard for the rape victim will ensure accused are given severest punishment and quickly Reqst ppl to stay calm and maintain peace.”
A senior police official said the entire central Vista including Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and all roads leading to India Gate will be closed for general traffic.
“Kamal Attaturk Marg also closed. All travellers are advised to avoid these roads,” the official said.
Ten Metro stations in Central Delhi were closed down for an indefinite period, as a precautionary measure by Delhi Police to prevent protesters from reaching the India Gate.
The stations which will remain out of bounds for people are Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Race Course, Jor Bagh and Khan Market.
However, inter-change facility will be available at Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat stations, DMRC officials said.
Peaceful protests at Jantar Mantar
Scores of people started gathering at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Saturday at around 10 a.m., mourning in silence the death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim and demanded stringent punishment for the culprits.
The mourners protested against the security lock down of India Gate and Raisina Hill, where violent demonstrations were witnessed last weekend over the rape.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas also joined the protest along with some of their supporters with their mouth tied with black cloth.
Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “her death is a matter of shame and sorrow for all of us. Let’s resolve that we will not let her death go in vain.”
“Aren’t we all responsible for her death? Can we all now do something so that half of humanity starts feeling safe amongst us?” he said.
“The government is not even allowing mourning of the death. This is insensitivity. There is complete lock down. You have the metro stations shut. You have a road completely blocked. This is undemocratic,” a protester Sunil said.
Mr. Sisodia said the government was muzzling the voice of people by shutting Metro and closing down India Gate.
In a statement, AAP said, the girl, who became the symbol of women’s insecurity and their courage, is no more.
“This is a moment of national grief. This is also a moment of national shame. We, as a nation, have failed to provide conditions in which women can lead a normal life without being subjected to indignities. We, as a society, have failed to evolve a culture of respect and equality for women.
“This event and the subsequent developments have no doubt generated widespread outrage and justified anger. But today we must convert this into a positive resolve. Let us all resolve that we shall convert this moment into a movement to end all forms of violence against women. Let No Violence Against Women be our national new year’s resolution,” it said.
In tweets, activist Kiran Bedi said, “today is a day of reflection and personal audit on the way we as parents and teachers are grooming boys in this country.
“Today is day of mourning on lives we have lost because of failure of our criminal justice system and resolve to not fail it in future. Today is a day to also reflect the way we project our women in media,” she said.
India Gate and Raisina Hill had witnessed violent protests against the gang-rape and police resorted to baton charge, water cannons and lobbing teargas shells to disperse protesters.
Police constable Subhash Tomar died last Sunday, during the violent protests.