NEW DELHI: Police on Sunday fired water canon at demonstrators rallying in the Indian capital against the failure to provide better safety for women after a teen was allegedly stabbed to death.
Dozens of angry protesters, mainly from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, tried to break through and jump over barricades erected around the police headquarters over the alleged murder of a 19-year-old girl last week.
The victim’s family says she was stabbed to death in their central Delhi neighbourhood after trying to avoid being harassed by two men late last Thursday.
The eleventh grader was stabbed 35 times, according to local media.
The Delhi government has accused the police of abetting the killing by “inaction”, saying they had never registered several complaints the victim filed against the perpetrators — two brothers from the locality — since 2013.
“It is beyond comprehension that a crime has perpetuated in the capital city despite prior complaints,” Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain wrote in a letter to the city’s police chief Bhim Sain Bassi late Saturday.
“The inaction of police failed to provide security to the deceased girl, “he said, demanding a detailed report by Monday, when chief minister Kejriwal is also scheduled to meet Bassi over the incident.
The police have arrested both brothers and are investigating the latest case which has once again raised the issue of women’s safety in India and particularly in Delhi, which has been dubbed the “rape capital” after a string of high-profile sex assaults.
The fatal gang-rape of a medical student in December 2012 on a bus in Delhi triggered mass protests and led to a tightening of laws on sex crimes.
Delhi’s special status as a partial state means that many of its key services — including the police force — are controlled by the national government.
Kejriwal, who has been fighting to get greater powers of control over the police, has blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “the deteriorating law and order situation in Delhi”.