New Delhi's government district is still under a lockdown
The lockdown did not stop protests in other areas Monday
Protesters demonstrate after the gang rape of a woman on a bus
Police say the woman was badly beaten and left for dead
Police continued to block off a key government district in India Tuesday in an effort to stop protesters angered about the gang rape of a woman.
Furious weekend demonstrations rocked the Raisina Hills section of New Delhi as public outrage surged. The protests started after a 23-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and beaten to near death on a bus on December 16 by a group of six suspects, now under arrest, police say.
The security barriers throughout the Raisina Hills area, home to the presidential mansion, the parliament building and federal ministerial blocks, did not stop protests in other areas Monday.
Scores of young students held demonstrations at the Jantar Mantar observatory, a regular protest site, some distance from the restricted area in New Delhi.
Many demanded immediate convening of a special session of parliament to amend laws to make rape a crime punishable with death.
“We are not satisfied with the prime minister’s statement. Our protests will continue until parliament sits immediately to pass stringent laws on sexual assaults,” said Om Prasad, a protester.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again expressed solidarity with the rape victim in a televised address on Monday. He also reiterated an earlier appeal for calm and a pledge of safety for women and children.
On Sunday, incensed protesters defied a police ban on demonstrations, clashing repeatedly with police.
As officers sprayed water cannons, some dispersed, while others huddled tightly in a circle to brave high-pressure streams in the cold December weather.
A police officer, who suffered injuries during the protests died in a hospital Tuesday, said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. Also the 23-year-old rape victim remained in a critical condition at another hospital in the city.
Doctors treating her said Monday her condition had worsened. She has been treated for internal bleeding and is receiving “high doses of antibiotics” for an infection.
Reported rape cases have increased more than tenfold over the past 40 years – from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011, according to official figures. New Delhi alone reported 572 rapes last year and more than 600 in 2012.
Authorities haven’t released the name of the rape victim, but protesters are calling her “Damini,” which means “lightning” in Hindi.