More than 500 protesters tried to march towards India Gate from Nizamuddin on Thursday, to put forth their five-point agenda in the wake of the recent gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic student.
The protesters, who started the march from Neela Gumbad around 2 pm, were stopped at Zakir Hussain Marg by a three-tier security force.
The protesters demanded the removal of the Delhi Police Commissioner; swift and sure punishment in the 1 lakh pending rape cases across the country; gender-just protocol for registering FIRs and investigation in crimes against women; punishment for police personnel who violate the protocol; special Parliament session after consultation with women’s organisations and students; and, safe public transport for women.
More than 3,000 police personnel from Southeast, Central, Northern and New Delhi districts were put on duty to control the crowd. Twenty to 25 companies of Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force were also present. Police also had tear gas shells and water cannons ready. Warning were issued by police over loudspeakers, asking the crowd to remain calm.
The protest remained peaceful, with many among the crowd requesting police to allow the progress of the crowd towards India Gate. The requests were turned down in view of prohibitory orders in the area.
Police suggested that the protesters march towards Jantar Mantar, but the crowd refused to take up the offer.
“Why should we go to Jantar Mantar? We want to go to India Gate, so that our voices reach Rashtrapati Bhawan. What do they mean by 144 CrPC? It is a democratic country, and this is our right,” Sandeep Singh, former AISA president, asked.
The protesters stayed on Zakir Hussain Marg till 6 pm. Later, most reassembled on Subramania Bharti Marg to march towards India Gate, but that attempt too was thwarted. “The force was deployed on the stretch (Subramania Bharti Marg) and the road was barricaded,” a police officer said.