New Delhi, Dec.21 (ANI): The streets of Delhi on Friday witnessed an outpouring of anger over the December 16 night gang-rape of a para-medic student in a moving bus.
With slogans like "we want justice, we want justice...," hundreds of angry women activists and students marched up to the Raisina Hill, demanding that justice be delivered to the girl who is fighting for her life in Safdarjang Hospital.
The protesters, who had gathered under the aegis of AIDWA, YWCA and JNUSU among others, started their march from Rajpath, reached Vijay Chowk, went past security barricades erected at the entrance of Raisina Hill and moved towards Rashtrapati Bhavan and South and North Blocks.
Policemen said the crowd attempted to force its way into Rashtrapati Bhavan, but was diverted back to India Gate.
A girl later identified as Swati even managed to go near the Rashtrapati Bhavan but was escorted back.
"They do nothing to protect us, and when we want justice, they say we need permission to enter the President's house. Such a heinous crime has occurred, and they expect us to seek permission to protest," Swati said.
The protesters then marched towards India Gate shouting slogans like "we want justice", "we want safe Delhi for women" etc.
The protesters were also demanding that strict steps be taken to ensure such horrific incidents never take place again.
Another group, under the aegis of the newly launched Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has been sitting in protest at Jantar Mantar in central Delhi. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal demanded a strict law and fast-track courts to deal with rape cases.
Hundreds of others protestors tried to block traffic outside Safdarjang Hospital. The level of anger can be gauged from the fact that today is the fourth day of protests in the city, and it is not over.
The level of brutality meted out to the girl - her mutilated intestine had to be removed - has left the nation shocked and worried.
"We demand speedy trial in the case and stringent punishment for the rapists, so that no one dares to repeat such a heinous crime not only in Delhi, but all over India," said Meera Singh, a women's rights activist and one of the protesters.
The court has remanded two of the accused to four-day police custody, while one of them has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
Meanwhile, anti-rape protests swept various Indian cities, as people from all quarters stood united, demanding their right to be able to work and travel safely.
In Kanpur, women demonstrators were sighted with a noose, symbolically demanding death by hanging for the culprits.
Anger spilled onto the streets of Lucknow, as students demanded action and a guarantee for their safety.
"We cannot depend on the government now and we have to take our security in our own hands. We have to take a decision to protect ourselves as well as other women, who go out to work," said Shruti Sinha, a protesting student.
Gender abuses are more common across India's conservative northern belt - which includes Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar - largely due a deep-rooted mindset that women are inferior and must be restricted to the role of homemakers.
"We are chanting the Maha Mrityunjay (mantra for conquering death) to pray for the health of the girl, who recently fell prey to animals in the disguise of human beings. She is battling for her life, so we pray that she gathers the courage to fight this battle," said Raju Pandya, a priest in Varanasi.
Even school girls took to the streets to express solidarity with the victim.
The brutal nature of the Delhi incident has shocked the consciousness of a nation where one woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, which reported 24,206 rapes in 2011 - an almost 10 percent rise over the previous year.
Delhi's rape figures are the highest among Indian cities of comparable size.
Women in India face a multitude of threats, from illegal abortions of female foetuses due to a preference for sons, to the murders of brides by in-laws for want of more dowry, child marriage and human trafficking.
Protests are being staged in many parts of the country, with people coming out on the streets of cities like Jaipur, Jammu, Bangalore, Shimla, Thiruvanathapuram, Kolkata and Mumbai. (ANI with inputs)