Police charge crowds in India calling for action against sexual violence
Police in India have used baton charges, water cannon and tear-gas to disperse crowds of demonstrators calling for stronger measures to combat the wave of sexual violence towards women in the country.
The brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old in the capital, Delhi, has provoked widespread anger, focused largely on the police, politicians and senior officials and has dominated news bulletins all week.
The victim, a physiotherapy student who was returning home with a friend from a film in the south of the city last Sunday week, is in a critical condition.
Six men have been arrested and face life imprisonment if convicted of any role in the assault, which took place over an hour on a bus travelling on main roads in the capital.
Many protesters taking part in the demonstrations across the country have called for the death sentence to be imposed for rape.
After dozens of people were injured in clashes with police on Saturday, several metro stations in Delhi were closed yesterday to prevent demonstrators reaching key locations around parliament and the president’s residency.
However, a crowd of several hundred gathered close to parliament. Scores of protesters have been detained or forcibly removed from sit-ins.
A number of fringe political groups appear to have joined the protests for the first time, to the dismay of some demonstrators.
“This is not about scoring political goals,” said Vijay Kakar, a 24-year-old student. “It is about justice and protection for our sisters.”
– (Guardian service)