Child rape: Protests across Delhi against police laxity (Third Lead)

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The brutal sexual assault on a five-year-old girl here again brought protestors out on the streets, with crowds assembling Saturday at various places, including Delhi Police headquarters, AIIMS and residences of Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The protests started in the morning at Police Headquarters near ITO with members of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) demanding resignation of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar. They were also joined by members of several women groups.

The protestors, numbering over 300, contended that Neeraj Kumar had failed to tackle rape crimes in the city. They also demanding death penalty to accused Manoj Kumar, who was arrested in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur early Saturday.

Some of the protestors sought to enter the police headquarters but were stopped. A police official said one protestor, who entered the headquarters forcibly, had been detained.

More than 200 police personnel, including women officers, were stationed near the police headquarters and were equipped with water canons and tear gas to deal with the situation.

Police officials said they had requested people to protest peacefully.

Sucheita, an activist of the ultra-left All India Student Association, called for strict laws and improvement in police’s functioning.

Kavita Krishanan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, said case should be registered against the three police officials who had been suspended and they should be arrested. “The government should clarify over delay in probe of the matter,” she said.

Protestors also thronged the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where the five-year-old victim is under treatment, and then gathered outside Shinde’s residence, giving police a tough time.

Protestors were able to bring down some barricades but were prevented from entering Shinde’s house by police who were present in sizeable numbers. “If there is so much security outside home minister’s residence, where will be police to keep women safe on streets,” an AAP member told IANS.

Later, several Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) workers were stopped and detained by the police at Sansad Marg in central Delhi while they were heading towards Shinde’s house Saturday evening. Around 40 people including party leader Vijay Goel were detained but later off.

Around 20 protestors also reached the 10 Janpath residence of Gandhi to lodge their protest but policemen asked them to leave.

Gandhi Nagar area in east Delhi, where the incident occurred, also witnessed protests and several shops were closed till the evening. Residents protested outside the Gandhi Nagar police station and burnt effigies of Delhi police commissioner.

In the evening, the protestors held a candle light vigil at AIIMS.

Leela Tyagi, a protestor, said: “Despite repeated protests, there have been no efforts made by the government to be alert and prevent such crimes.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Police imposed prohibitory orders at the India Gate area, ahead of a candlelight march called by the Aam Aadmi Party and several NGOs.

People marching to the spot were stopped by policemen, deployed in considerable number in the area.

The city had witnessed protests Friday too.

The five-year-old girl was abducted April 15 and kept hostage for two days without food and water in a room in which accused Manoj Kumar lived. She was rescued Wednesday when her family, who lived in the same building, heard her screams.

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