India

India PM appeals for Delhi calm after rape protests

  • 24 December 2012
  • From the section India

Indian PM Manmohan Singh has appealed for calm in the capital, Delhi, following violent protests over the gang rape of a woman.

Mr Singh said his government would "make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women".

More than 100 people were hurt in clashes at the weekend - police say at least 60 officers were injured.

The rape, which happened on a bus in Delhi and left the woman in a critical condition, has caused outrage in India.

The government has tried to halt the rising anger by announcing a series of measures intended to make Delhi safer for women.

These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.

But the protesters say the government's pledge to seek life sentences for the attackers is not enough - many are calling for the death penalty.

Six people, including the bus driver, have already been arrested in connection with the incident.

'Justified anger'

In a short televised address to the nation on Monday, Mr Singh said: "I appeal to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm. I assure you we will make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety of women in this country."

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Singh said in a statement that he felt "deeply sad at the turn of events leading to clashes between protesters and police forces".

"We are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of a heinous crime in Delhi," he said.

Mr Singh said there was "genuine and justified anger and anguish at this ghastly incident".

The condition of the young woman continues to be critical, doctors say.

She underwent surgery on Sunday to halt an infection and was put back on life support.

On Sunday, riot police in Delhi used tear gas and batons to keep demonstrators, mainly college students, from marching on President Pranab Mukherjee's palace for a second day, despite a ban on protests.

Violence erupted as demonstrators tried to break through police barricades to march on the palace.

The 23-year-old victim and her friend had been to watch a film when they boarded the bus in the Munirka area intending to travel to Dwarka in south-west Delhi.

Police said she was raped for nearly an hour, both she and her companion were beaten with iron rods and thrown out of the moving bus into a Delhi street.

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