India police 'kill journalist' at Manipur protest

Protesters shield themselves as Indian police prepare to beat them with sticks (23 December 2012)
Image caption Demonstrators in the capital, Delhi, have defied a protest ban and gathered for a second day of marches over the gang rape of a student

Police in north-east India have shot dead a journalist covering a protest over a sex attack on an actress.

The cameraman was "killed in police firing" when the marches in Manipur state turned violent, a police spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Meanwhile authorities in the capital, Delhi, have banned protests over the gang rape of a student, after clashes broke out on Saturday.

The rape, which has left the woman in a critical condition, has caused outrage.

As protesters gathered for a second day of marches in central Delhi despite the protest ban, anger over sex crimes also spread to Manipur, where film actress Momoko publicly spoke out about being assaulted last week.

Demonstrators took to the streets of the state's capital, Imphal, demanding the arrest of her attacker.

The journalist was shot dead after violence erupted between security forces and protesters.

Rising anger

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

Routes leading to landmark government building have been cordoned off, and some metro stations are closed, the Reuters news agency reports.

On Saturday, thousands of people took to the capital's streets, carrying placards reading "Hang the Rapists" and "Save women. Save India".

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

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

They 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.

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.

Doctors said on Saturday that the woman remained in a critical but stable condition, but had been removed from a ventilator.

The attack has prompted a week of candle-lit vigils and demonstrations amid some soul-searching about the safety of women in Delhi and other parts of the country.

Police figures show that, in Delhi, a rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some form of sexual attack every 14 hours.

National statistics show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded in 2011 were committed against women.

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