From unruly to restrained to even political, the protests against the rape of a five-year-old girl in different parts of the Capital assumed many hues on a day when she was shifted from Swami Dayanand (SD) Hospital to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
At the centre of the series of protests, was the one at the SD Hospital by the Aam Aadmi Party activists on Friday afternoon. Not surprisingly, some AAP volunteers claimed credit for the decision to shift the patient to a better hospital. Other venues where protests were held included LNJP Hospital, AIIMS and Geeta Colony police station
While other patients at SD Hospital alleged that the protest caused inconvenience to them, the handling of the protests, which even saw a girl being slapped by a senior police officer, also drew sharp criticism from all quarters, including the Prime Minister. What begin with a few volunteers assembling around 10 a.m. soon swelled into a massive protest as many others, including AAP leaders such as Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, joined.
Demanding a transfer of the victim to the AIIMS and demanding immediate arrest of those behind the incident, the protesters camped inside the hospital. They raised slogan against the Delhi government and the police, terming them as incompetent and indifferent towards women safety.
A section of the protesters entered the hospital and allegedly heckled East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit and Health Minister A.K. Walia upon their arrival. The police used force to drive them out. An Assistant Commissioner of Police even slapped one of them, a 17-year-old girl Beenu Rawat.
The police officer, B.S. Ahlawat, has since been suspended.
Another politician who visited SD hospital was BJP State Chief Vijay Goel who arrived with a large number of supporters moments before the ambulance carrying the victim left for AIIMS.
As reports of LNJP Hospital emerged as a possible destination to shift the patient, some protesters shouted slogans there as well demanding better treatment for the victim.
Later in the evening, after the victim was brought to AIIMS, activists of All India Students’ Association and All India Progressive Women's Association gathered outside the JPNA Trauma Centre and staged a protest. “The government should take responsibility for the police misbehaviour against a young protester. The police should also be held accountable for the shoddy investigations in the case,” said a protester.