NEW DELHI — Police remained on high alert in the central areas of New Delhi for the second day, keeping metro rail stations closed and manning check points, after a policeman succumbed to injuries sustained during violent weekend protests against the gang rape of a 23-year old student.
Roads leading to the Indian capital’s city center wore a deserted look and traffic in other parts was thin with offices shut for Christmas. Subhash Chand Tomar, a police officer, died in a hospital Tuesday morning, Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said in a phone interview.
Authorities strengthened security and diverted traffic Monday around India Gate, the venue of the demonstrations, and restricted access to the area leading to the president and prime minister’s offices and parliament.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed for peace and calm, assuring “all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women.” All six men accused of raping and torturing the woman in a city bus on Dec. 16 have been arrested, police said.
The government’s pledge to enforce stronger punishment, including possibly the death penalty, failed to assuage the concerns of protesters over the weekend who chanted for justice and demanded swifter trials and tougher laws.
Televised images showed police lobbing tear-gas shells and using water cannons to disperse crowds in the capital’s high-security zone on Dec. 22 and 23. About 65 protesters and 78 police personnel were injured, the Times of India reported.
“There has been no report of protests so far,” Bhagat said Tuesday. The city’s police also expressed regret and apologized “if any innocent protester was hurt or lathi- charged” in a message on Twitter’s site.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said at a briefing on Dec. 22 that he needed to consult with the Law Ministry to change the criminal code to include capital punishment for the “rarest of rare” rape cases.
The leader of the opposition in the lower house of parliament, Sushma Swaraj, called for a special session to discuss violence against women.
Data provided by India’s National Crime Records Bureau show about 24,200 cases of rape and 228,650 cases of crimes against women were reported in 2011.
Still, figures given by the United Nations show 1.8 cases of rape for every 100,000 in India, compared with 63 in Sweden, 29 in Britain, and 27 in the United States.
Most cases go unreported in India.
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