New Delhi: Protests against the gang rape of a woman in the capital wound down on Christmas Day as a police constable succumbed to injuries sustained during clashes on Sunday. The woman is still in critical condition.
Delhi Police named eight persons in a first information report (FIR) on the death of constable Subhash Tomar. Booked under various sections including that related to murder, they were arrested and released on bail on Monday.
One of the eight includes a member of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
“Police arrested eight young people and one of them called Chaman has been associated with several AAP programmes,” Kejriwal told reporters on Tuesday. “If Chaman is responsible, he should be punished, but if the government tries to fabricate a case, we will stand by these young people.”
“We have not sought bail for anyone, the family members of those being named have got the bail,” said Manish Sisodia, AAP spokesperson.
Kejriwal has also demanded that the case of Tomar’s death should be taken up by the same fast-track court that hears the gang-rape case.
There were fewer people at the Jantar Mantar protest venue.
“I am not disheartened by the dip in numbers,” said 17-year-old Nandita Kochar.
“The very fact that people are still coming...is encouraging enough for me to come here everyday.”
Another student, Sandeep Rawat, said he would continue to attend the protests.
Politically affiliated student groups staged separate protests at the venue. The predominant theme of the discussions among protesters was how to take the agitation forward and the demands that need to be communicated to the government.
The Congress party held a meeting of its core group at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence.
“The meeting is to review the ongoing situation,” said a Congress leader, requesting anonymity.
“The government has to decide how it wants to deal with the ongoing protests and the demands put forth.”
The meeting, which was also attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, finance minister P. Chidambaram and home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, was apprised that the government has requested protesting student organizations and other groups to send their suggestions to the J.S. Verma Committee set up to rewrite the rape laws.
President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday that criminal attacks against women take place because of “negative perceptions” and called for an end to such violence. “We should inculcate in every member of the society the highest of respect for women, and the youth of the country will have to take lead in this area,” he said.
According to doctors at the capital’s Safdarjung Hospital, while the 23-year-old rape victim’s condition was a little better than what it was on Monday, she continues to be on ventilator support.
PTI contributed to this story.