Thousands join candlelight protests for ‘Amanat’: Latest developments
New Delhi: Protests were held in Delhi and other cities all day today in memory of the 23-year-old medical student who died in a Singapore hospital early this morning. The body of ‘Amanat’ (NOT her real name) will be brought back to India on a chartered Air India plane along with her family members. C
Here are the latest developments:
- In Delhi, hundreds of people gathered at Jantar Mantar and at sunset, the numbers were growing. Many carried placards highlighting the lack of safety for women.
- Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit tried to join the demonstration in the afternoon but left after lighting a candle as many in the crowd heckled her. They said they did not want to politicise today’s somber proceedings.
- Early in the morning, the police sealed all access to India Gate where thousands of protesters clashed with cops last weekend. 5,000 policemen and security personnel, some in riot gear, stood guard near the monument in the heart of Delhi.
- Ms Dikshit had asked Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to allow the protesters to go to India Gate, but her request was turned down. She also appealed for calm in the city.
- Dozens of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi marched silently to the bus stop from where the girl and her friend had boarded the bus on December 16. They carried placards reading, “She is not with us but her story must awaken us.”
- The six men arrested for the depraved attack on Amanat have now been accused of murder. The police is working on a 1000-page chargesheet against them; the trial could begin in the first week of January when courts reopen after a winter break.
- Five of the arrested men are in Delhi’s Tihar Jail and have been moved to high-security cells to prevent potential attacks from other prisoners. The sixth, a minor, is at a juvenile home in Delhi.
- Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six face death penalty if convicted.
- Doctors who attended to Amanat in Singapore said: “She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds, but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome.”