Despite barricades, Delhi sees protests

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) Hundreds gathered in the heart of the Indian capital Saturday following the death of the gang-rape victim in Singapore even as security forces sealed off India Gate and nearby areas.

While small groups engaged in animated discussions at Jantar Mantar, hundreds squatted on a road facing the monument to mourn the death of the 23-year-old who was brutally raped and tortured Dec 16.

After 13 days of struggle first in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital and later in Singapore, the victim succumbed to multiple-organ failure at 2.15 a.m. Indian time.

In the crowds were people of all age groups although young men and women dominated. Some looked sullen and distraught while others were visibly angry over the fate the young woman suffered.

Others carried flowers in memory of the victim, a physiotherapist intern from Uttar Pradesh who was employed in a hospital here.

A few were upset over the government decision to shift her to Singapore at a time when her health was precarious.

"We are mourning her death," said a young man in Jantar Mantar, one of two sites where Delhi Police have said protests could take place.

Earlier, as the Singapore hospital announced her death, authorities here deployed hundreds of police and paramilitary forces to foil demonstrations that had earlier turned violent leaving a policeman dead.

Police said the entire Central Vista including Rajpath, Vijay Chowk and all roads leading to India Gate would be out of bounds both for traffic as the general public.

"All travellers are advised to avoid these roads," Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.

On a police request, Delhi Metro also announced the closure of 10 stations spread over three networks -- Yellow, Blue and Violet.

The stations are Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhavan, Race Course, Jor Bagh and Khan Market.

A metro official said the inter-change services would continue at the Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat stations. But no one would be allowed to enter or exit from any of these stations.

The measure was aimed at preventing crowds from gathering in the city centre, police sources said.

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said people could gather at Jantar Manar, about a kilometre from parliament, and the Ramlila ground, another protest site.