Police use water cannon, tear gas as gang-rape protests intensify

NEW DELHI Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:30pm IST

1 of 8. A demonstrator kicks a tear gas shell fired by police near the presidential palace during a protest rally in New Delhi December 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmad Masood

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Police used batons, tear gas and water cannon to turn back thousands of people marching on Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday in intensifying protests against the gang-rape of a woman on the streets and on social media.

The 23-year-old victim is battling for her life in hospital after she was beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus on a busy New Delhi street last Sunday. Five people have been arrested.

The protesters, largely college students, are demanding the death penalty for the accused and safety assurances for women.

New Delhi, home to about 16 million people, has the highest number of sex crimes among India's major cities. Police figures show a rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some other form of sexual attack every 14 hours.

-------------------------------------------------------

Blog: A case for the death penalty reut.rs/ZoZXjC

Blog: Public fury over gang-rape in India: Let's keep up the pressure reut.rs/WtPhuG

Slideshow: Protests against the Delhi gang rape incident reut.rs/V9Vn4t

-------------------------------------------------------

Appealing for calm, India's junior minister for home affairs, R.P.N. Singh, said the government had listened to the protesters.

"We have assured on the floor of the house and on every platform possible that strictest action will be taken against the accused. The police have been asked to show restraint but I want to tell boys and girls that breaking barriers will not help," Singh said.

But the protests are growing amid widespread media coverage.

"If Rahul Gandhi claims to be a youth icon then he should have been here, talking to protesters and taking up the issue of women's safety," one protester said.

Gandhi, the 42-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has ruled India for most of its 65 years of independence, is widely seen as a future prime minister.

Marches, demonstrations and candlelight vigils have spread during the week to cities in states from the north of the country to the south.

In the northeastern state of Assam, hundreds of women and girls marched through the city of Guwahati on Friday, carrying placards and shouting "Hang Rapists" and "Stop Violence Against Women".

(Additional reporting by Anuja Jaiman; Editing by Nick Macfie)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

2015: India Outlook

2015: India Outlook

India in 2014: A dream run for markets.  Full Article 

Funding Woes

Funding Woes

Co-founder of SpiceJet seeks time to finalise rescue.  Full Article 

Flying Back on Course

Flying Back on Course

The inside story of the new Airbus A350 jet.  Full Article 

Oil Price Forecast

Oil Price Forecast

Oil prices likely to rebound in second half of 2015: poll  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

China's private sector suitors to drive Asian M&A deals in 2015.  Full Article 

Property Tycoon

Property Tycoon

Wang Jianlin, China's property tycoon, finds golden path to billions.  Full Article 

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity

Internet outage seen in N. Korea amid U.S. hacking dispute.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage