Delhi Police asks DCW chief, on hunger strike, to vacate Jantar Mantar premises

New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) DCW chief Swati Maliwal dug her heels and insisted on staging an indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar here on Tuesday, demanding capital punishment for rapists, even as police asked her to vacate the place, citing court orders.

Accompanied by women activists and members of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Maliwal sat on a dharna at Jantar Mantar in the morning, demanding capital punishment in rape cases within six months of conviction.

Hours later, she was stationed their along with her supporters even as senior Delhi Police officers cited a court order prohibiting protests at Jantar Mantar beyond 5 pm and asked her to shift to some other place to continue with her stir.

However, police and Maliwal's aides said the protesters were likely to shift to Rajghat.

Maliwal sat on the hunger strike protesting against recent incidents of rape in the country. She refused to listen to the police's request.

The police said they were considering providing an alternative venue for the protest to Maliwal.

'We are telling them that there are certain guidelines for protests at Jantar Mantar. Agitators are allowed to protest till 5 pm and we are urging them to follow these guidelines,' Delhi Police PRO and DCP (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

'If they need any alternative site, including the Ramleela Ground, we are also considering that. We are urging them to cooperate with Delhi Police,' he said.

Despite several requests on a public address system by the police to end her protest for the day, Maliwal and her supporters refused to budge.

The DCW chief said, 'Delhi Police is citing guidelines, saying one cannot organise a programme after 5 pm. Last year, on the 10th day of my fast unto death, a law was made that the rapists of children would be given death penalty within six months. That law is not being implemented. What guidelines are they talking about?' Maliwal said she would continue with her strike till her demands were fulfilled.

She has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding that rapists be hanged within six months of their conviction.

'Delhi Police wants me stay in the cold and there are no arrangements for even a microphone or tent. They are trying to trouble me and they view me as a criminal. Whatever they want to do, they can. I do not want to fight with anyone. My hunger strike will continue at Jantar Mantar,' Maliwal said.

Later, Randhawa had a word with the DCW chief and she agreed to continue with her hunger strike at Rajghat, where arrangements were being made.

According to the court order, protests at Jantar Mantar should be organised between 10 am and 5 pm. PTI NIT SLB VIT RC