New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has requested Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to allow anti-rape protesters to go to India Gate. Dikshit made the request after Delhi Police locked down India Gate and other sensitive areas of Delhi to prevent protests following the death of the 23-year-old Delhi braveheart, who was brutally gangraped by half-a-dozen men in a moving bus in the national capital.
Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit said that India Gate had become a symbol of protest for the youngsters. "I think permission can be given to hold protests at India Gate," said the Congress MP.
India Gate was the venue of the violent clashes between the police and protesters on December 22 and 23 when the security personnel cracked down on anti-rape demonstrators, resulting in several people being injured. Delhi Police constable Subhash Tomar who had collapsed during the crackdown at India Gate on December 23 died two days later at the city's Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
Delhi Police on Saturday stepped up security across the national capital as soon the news of Delhi braveheart dying in a Singapore hospital came in. The police barricaded all entry points to India Gate, where massive protests took place in last few days following the brutal gangrape and assault of a 23-year-old paramedical student, along with roads leading to Vijay Chowk and Rajpath. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have also been imposed in the New Delhi district of the national capital.
As a precautionary measure 10 Delhi metro stations too have been shut down. The metro stations which have been shut down include Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, RCR, Udyog Bhavan, Jorbagh, Khan Market, Rajiv Chowk, Barakhambha, Mandi House and Pragati Maidan. However, inter-change facility will be available at Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat stations, DMRC officials said. The decision to close down the Metro stations was taken by the Delhi Police who are making all efforts to prevent protesters from reaching India Gate.
Delhi Police tweeted: "Entire Central Vista including Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and all road leading to India Gate will be closed for general traffic, Kamal Attaturk Marg also closed. All traveller advised to avoid these roads."
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar urged the people to maintain pace and clam. "These are sad moments. We pray for Delhi brave heart. Delhi Police request Citizens to maintain peace and calm in these difficult times. We request them to avoid gathering at places advised time to time during the day and help us," said Kumar.
A total of 40 companies including 28 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed in Delhi. While 20 companies have been deployed in the Central Vista area, three companies are outside 10 Janpath (Sonia Gandhi's residence), five at Jantar Mantar, two at 7 Race Course Road (Manmohan Singh's residence), two at Police Headquarters, five in South District and five as mobile reserve.