Delhi gang-rape protests: Govt ready for talks, but urges calm
New Delhi: Amidst huge uproar over using of tear gas shells and water canons by Delhi police to disperse protestors demanding justice for the 23-year-old gang-rape victim, Minister of State for Home RPN Singh on Saturday appealed to the people not to resort to any violence, and said that the government will take strict measures and actions against the rapists.
Reacting to the protests being held at Raisina Hill Singh said, "I am definitely not justifying the use of tear gas and water canon. But when protesters start breaking government property, start vandalising buses, start breaking barricades. But today, at this very moment, (if) people have gathered at the India Gate in a peaceful way nobody is stopping them."
"There are some people who are trying to make it into unruly, which will actually defeat the purpose of this whole gathering that the youth of this city want to do. I would appeal to them not to resort to any violence. The government is hearing them loud and clear," he added.
Singh further said that government is open to suggestions, but will not talk to angry crowd.
"The government will ensure that whatever steps have to be taken to ensure the safety of women in this country, will be taken. We are hearing their voices. We are open to their suggestions. We are open to dialogue with the people of this city, be it girls or boys, but they have to do it an orderly manner," he added.
The government’s reaction comes after police fired tear gas shells and resorted to lathi-charge to disperse thousands of people at Raisina Hill.
Some students were also injured in the police action.
Singh further said that protesters needed to calm down, paving the way for orderly talks on the issue which has sparked furore across the country.
Police first used water cannons to disperse the crowd but as the protesters did not budge, they used tear gas shells and wielded sticks.
Policemen were seen chasing people, many of them students. Some of the protesters resorted to stone-pelting too.
Apart from Raisana Hill, protesters converged at India Gate too.
Singh had earlier said that the Delhi police will have to ensure its presence on roads and streets of the national capital in order to make the women feel safe and secure.
Amid massive protest from last six days against the government and police, questioning security measures in the capital after the gang-rape incident, RPN Singh and Home Secretary RK Singh travelled incognito in the capital to find out the security measures during nights.
After talking to women passenger during his journey, the minister said: "If women say they feel unsafe, I can now understand why they are saying so. I think police will have to ensure their presence on the roads; so that they can feel secure.”
"I travelled from Moti Bag to Chhattarpur via Vasant Kunj and Vasant Vihar. After speaking to the women travelling at that time, I realised why they feel insecure. On the basis of this experience I will say to ministry to take proper steps. I will now frequently travel by bus on various routs to find out the security measures here," said RPN Singh.
Asked about his comment on punishment to rapists, he said: "If we you ask me, I also feel that the rapists should be hanged. But, they will learn a lesion if they get life-term. Such cases should be heard in fast track courts, but our primary concern is to make the women feel that they are safe out of their houses."
Singh emphasised that his office will ask to increase checking of public transport vehicles and installation of GPS in all buses and autos in the city.
According to doctors, the rape victim is battling for life in Safdarjung hospital, showing early signs of sepsis, a potentially deadly medical condition characterised by a whole-body inflammatory state caused by severe infection.