Delhi gang-rape: Shinde defends crackdown on protesters

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday defended the police crackdown on protesters at India Gate and Raisina Hill.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: As the national capital witnessed violent clashes between security forces and protesters over the weekend, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday justified the police crackdown, saying that some hooligans and ‘goondas’ had entered the crowd following which the action was taken.

In an interview to CNN-IBN, Shinde said, “Hooligans and goondas had joined the protesters and were damaging public property and pelting stones, after which the police took action.”

The Home Minister told the news channel, “The protesters had marched right upto the North Block and were trying to move into the Rashtrapati Bhawan, had this happened then you would have criticised me.”

He further informed that a probe has been ordered into the violence at the India Gate. When asked about the identification of the miscreants who had joined the protests, he said, “In a crowd of three thousand people it is hard to identify such people.”

The Home Minister’s reaction comes after mass protests against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student turned violent, leaving scores injured. The incident left one policeman in critical condition and turned the India Gate area into a virtual war zone on Sunday.

The Home Minister also regretted that innocent people were injured in the police action. He assured of strict action against anyone found guilty.

“This government is sensitive and our leaders Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have repeatedly assured of action. Sonia ji had met some of the protesters on Saturday night and also assured of action, then why such incidents occurred the next day,” Shinde asked.

“If tomorrow Congress, BJP people or Maoists come and protest then you will also ask me to go and meet them which is not possible. We cannot set a precedent,” the Home Minister stated.

When asked about his opinion on growing demand for Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar’s resignation, Shinde said, “At this point of time, I don’t want to say anything. A probe is going on and action will be taken against persons found guilty.”

Interestingly, Delhi Police Commissioner had yesterday rejected demands for his resignation.

“I have called a meeting with all state DGPs and state chief secretaries on January 4 to get details of rape incidents across the country and what action is needed to curb them,” Shinde said when asked about delayed action on the part of the government in connection with the gang-rape cases.

The Minister categorically rejected the demand for Special Session of Parliament, saying that he has given one month time and will ensure action within the time frame. Notably, BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha had demanded for a Special Session on the issue.

When asked what his opinion on growing public anger over huge security being provided to VIPs and the common man feeling insecured on the roads of Delhi, the Home Minister said that he will look into the issue. “I have collected suggestions and will work on it.”