Indian police fired water cannon Wednesday to break up a demonstration held to protest the gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus, witnesses said.
The protesters, who gathered outside the residence of New Delhi’s chief minister, could be seen chanting “We want equal rights for women” as police hosed them.
Lawmakers, rights groups and citizens across India expressed outrage Wednesday over the gang rape of a woman on a bus in New Delhi and are urging the government to crack down on crimes against women.
The outpouring of anger is unusual in a country where attacks against women are often ignored and rarely prosecuted.
Opposition lawmakers protested outside Parliament on Wednesday and called for the death penalty for the rapists.
Demonstrations erupted outside New Delhi’s police headquarters demanding swift punishment for the rapists, and angry university students set up roadblocks across the city.
Police say six men raped the 23-year-old medical student, and beat her and her companion with iron rods before throwing them off the bus Sunday.
The woman was in a critical condition in hospital and doctors said she has severe internal injuries.
Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar said four men have been arrested and a search was underway for the two other men.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told Parliament that he had ordered increased police patrols on the streets, especially at night. Shinde said the government has proposed amendments to criminal laws to increase the punishment for rapes and other crimes against women. But they are still awaiting discussion and passage in parliament.
Analysts and protesters said the upsurge of anger was chiefly due to the increasing incidents of crime against women and the seeming inability of the government and police to ensure the safety of women.