On New Delhi street, protest simmers nonstopMarch 31, 2013
The massive protests that swept India after the gang rape of a paramedical student in the capital last year may seem to have disappeared from the headlines here.
The young woman who was assaulted died; the government gave her family a new apartment and financial compensation. The accused are on trial, and a new law has toughened the penalties for sexual assault.
But on one street in New Delhi, the movement — dubbed the 16 December Revolution after the date the gang rape occurred — is still alive, kept in the public eye by bandanna-wearing, placard-wielding activists who sleep in plastic tents and hold daily candlelight vigils.
Jantar Mantar, the capital’s official protest street, is the place where much of the anger and dissent in this teeming democracy finds a voice. On Friday, the anti-rape protesters sat in the rain next to people demanding cleaner rivers, affirmative action, pension funds, disability grants and a corruption-free government.
When it comes to grievances, India is a buffet. And anybody with a cause can find slogan-shouting time and space at Jantar Mantar — as powerful an advertisement for free speech as Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, only more crowded and more littered.
As public outrage over corruption and sexual violence grew in the past two years, it appeared for a while as if the India Gate boulevard that runs past Parliament, the prime minister’s office and the president’s residence would again become the demonstration hub it had been until the 1980s. But the protest-wary government imposed curfews on India Gate and herded activists back into the tiny street, named Jantar Mantar after the nearby 18th-century astronomical observatory of the same name.
Protesters describe Jantar Mantar evocatively. “Temple of democracy,” one said. Another likened it to the bell that citizens rang to alert the king of their grievances in olden times. One man said it was like the “anger palace” of the Hindu epics to which queens withdrew to indicate to the king that they were sulking.
But Ram Shankar Ojha, 56, who was protesting the condition of the city’s polluted Yamuna River, said the street could also be seen as “a jailhouse for protesters.”
“The government has set aside this street for us to come, shout, vent our anger and leave,” he said. “The government wants to contain our anger within Jantar Mantar so that it does not spill out into the rest of the city.”
Anti-rape protesters said they will not leave the street until all those accused in the Dec. 16 incident, including the juvenile defendant, are hanged.
“The so-called fast-track court is taking too long,” said Mohammad Faiz Khan, 32. “Today it is three months since the woman died.”
In another tent, a mother was protesting on behalf of her daughter, who she said was raped by a policeman in the northern state of Punjab in 2010.
“The police have not even filed a complaint,” said Mahinder Kaur, 60. “It has been nearly three years.” Buoyed by the anti-rape protests in the capital, Kaur and her daughter have camped in Jantar Mantar since January. Activists helped her write letters to the government’s human rights panel and women’s commission.
Policemen stand around on the street all day, keeping an eye on things & plainclothes intelligence officers speak to protesters in the evening and take notes.
Meanwhile, ideas and activists circulate and sometimes meld.
Several auto-rickshaw drivers demanding speedier vehicle registration and a new fare schedule wore white caps bearing the slogan “I am the common man,” the signature protest prop of the anti-corruption movement that began in Jantar Mantar two years ago.
One driver said he had volunteered at the office of the anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, who is now on a hunger strike in a distant slum to protest electricity prices. Kejriwal was invited to speak a few days ago at the Jantar Mantar protest tent of activists demanding a separate state for the ethnic Gorkha community in eastern India.
“He said he supports our cause for a separate state because of our distinct Gorkha ethnic and linguistic identity,” said Bhushan Rai, 37.
A law student protesting against rape said he had also taken part in the anti-corruption drive: “In a way, the anti-corruption movement gave me the first exposure to activism, then the rape protests took place and I went to that, too,” said Mohit Ranjan, 21. “I am still here because I don’t want that spirit to die out.”
Source

On New Delhi street, protest simmers nonstop
March 31, 2013

The massive protests that swept India after the gang rape of a paramedical student in the capital last year may seem to have disappeared from the headlines here.

The young woman who was assaulted died; the government gave her family a new apartment and financial compensation. The accused are on trial, and a new law has toughened the penalties for sexual assault.

But on one street in New Delhi, the movement — dubbed the 16 December Revolution after the date the gang rape occurred — is still alive, kept in the public eye by bandanna-wearing, placard-wielding activists who sleep in plastic tents and hold daily candlelight vigils.

Jantar Mantar, the capital’s official protest street, is the place where much of the anger and dissent in this teeming democracy finds a voice. On Friday, the anti-rape protesters sat in the rain next to people demanding cleaner rivers, affirmative action, pension funds, disability grants and a corruption-free government.

When it comes to grievances, India is a buffet. And anybody with a cause can find slogan-shouting time and space at Jantar Mantar — as powerful an advertisement for free speech as Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, only more crowded and more littered.

As public outrage over corruption and sexual violence grew in the past two years, it appeared for a while as if the India Gate boulevard that runs past Parliament, the prime minister’s office and the president’s residence would again become the demonstration hub it had been until the 1980s. But the protest-wary government imposed curfews on India Gate and herded activists back into the tiny street, named Jantar Mantar after the nearby 18th-century astronomical observatory of the same name.

Protesters describe Jantar Mantar evocatively. “Temple of democracy,” one said. Another likened it to the bell that citizens rang to alert the king of their grievances in olden times. One man said it was like the “anger palace” of the Hindu epics to which queens withdrew to indicate to the king that they were sulking.

But Ram Shankar Ojha, 56, who was protesting the condition of the city’s polluted Yamuna River, said the street could also be seen as “a jailhouse for protesters.”

“The government has set aside this street for us to come, shout, vent our anger and leave,” he said. “The government wants to contain our anger within Jantar Mantar so that it does not spill out into the rest of the city.”

Anti-rape protesters said they will not leave the street until all those accused in the Dec. 16 incident, including the juvenile defendant, are hanged.

“The so-called fast-track court is taking too long,” said Mohammad Faiz Khan, 32. “Today it is three months since the woman died.”

In another tent, a mother was protesting on behalf of her daughter, who she said was raped by a policeman in the northern state of Punjab in 2010.

“The police have not even filed a complaint,” said Mahinder Kaur, 60. “It has been nearly three years.” Buoyed by the anti-rape protests in the capital, Kaur and her daughter have camped in Jantar Mantar since January. Activists helped her write letters to the government’s human rights panel and women’s commission.

Policemen stand around on the street all day, keeping an eye on things & plainclothes intelligence officers speak to protesters in the evening and take notes.

Meanwhile, ideas and activists circulate and sometimes meld.

Several auto-rickshaw drivers demanding speedier vehicle registration and a new fare schedule wore white caps bearing the slogan “I am the common man,” the signature protest prop of the anti-corruption movement that began in Jantar Mantar two years ago.

One driver said he had volunteered at the office of the anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal, who is now on a hunger strike in a distant slum to protest electricity prices. Kejriwal was invited to speak a few days ago at the Jantar Mantar protest tent of activists demanding a separate state for the ethnic Gorkha community in eastern India.

“He said he supports our cause for a separate state because of our distinct Gorkha ethnic and linguistic identity,” said Bhushan Rai, 37.

A law student protesting against rape said he had also taken part in the anti-corruption drive: “In a way, the anti-corruption movement gave me the first exposure to activism, then the rape protests took place and I went to that, too,” said Mohit Ranjan, 21. “I am still here because I don’t want that spirit to die out.”

Source

TW: Violence - Two more horrifying gang rape cases in India over the weekendJanuary 15, 2013
Seven men gang rape bus passenger in New Delhi
In an incident eerily similar to a sexual assault that sent shock waves worldwide, Indian police say a woman was gang-raped over the weekend by seven men after she boarded a bus at night.
Police have arrested all seven suspects, including the bus driver, after the alleged Friday night attack in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab state.
Just like a gang rape in New Delhi that sparked international outrage last month, the new attack occurred after the woman got on a bus.
The bus sped past her stop, police said. By that time, the woman was the only passenger.
The bus driver and his helper then took the married 29-year-old woman to an undisclosed address where five others joined the two men and raped her throughout the night, police said.
"They threatened me with a sharp edged weapon and did wrong things with me," the victim told CNN’s sister station, CNN-IBN. "They kept me confined all through the night and forced me to do what they want."
The next day, the suspects dropped her off at her village, where she informed her family and alerted police, according to authorities.
Source
Passenger gang raped, killed, hanged from a tree in Bhagalpur
A woman who got down from a Delhi-bound train in Bhagalpur district, was gang-raped, killed and her body hanged from a tree in a mango orchard.
Police said the 32-year-old victim, who was a passenger of the Brahmaputra Mail that was travelling to the national capital, was dragged to the mango orchard and gang-raped by unidentified persons after she alighted from the train between Vikramshila and Kahalgaon stations.
She was strangled and her body hanged from a tree late on Saturday night. Police recovered the body on Sunday and sent it to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Bhagalpur for postmortem.
The victim, who hails from New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, took the train from Alipore to Delhi, along with her son. As the train was jampacked, she tried to get down at Sahibganj but was prevented from doing so by co-passengers, ASP, Bhagalpur, Meenu Kumari said. When the train slowed down between Vikramshila and Kahalgaon stations, she jumped out. It is not clear why she took this step.
A group of inebriated people then dragged her to a nearby mango orchard and sexually assaulted her. Liquor bottles were found at the spot, Kumari said.
A railway ticket and cellphone number of her village pradhan written on a piece of paper was recovered from the victim’s possession, police said.
Source
The number of reported rapes in India has increased from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. 

TW: Violence - Two more horrifying gang rape cases in India over the weekend
January 15, 2013

Seven men gang rape bus passenger in New Delhi

In an incident eerily similar to a sexual assault that sent shock waves worldwide, Indian police say a woman was gang-raped over the weekend by seven men after she boarded a bus at night.

Police have arrested all seven suspects, including the bus driver, after the alleged Friday night attack in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab state.

Just like a gang rape in New Delhi that sparked international outrage last month, the new attack occurred after the woman got on a bus.

The bus sped past her stop, police said. By that time, the woman was the only passenger.

The bus driver and his helper then took the married 29-year-old woman to an undisclosed address where five others joined the two men and raped her throughout the night, police said.

"They threatened me with a sharp edged weapon and did wrong things with me," the victim told CNN’s sister station, CNN-IBN. "They kept me confined all through the night and forced me to do what they want."

The next day, the suspects dropped her off at her village, where she informed her family and alerted police, according to authorities.

Source

Passenger gang raped, killed, hanged from a tree in Bhagalpur

A woman who got down from a Delhi-bound train in Bhagalpur district, was gang-raped, killed and her body hanged from a tree in a mango orchard.

Police said the 32-year-old victim, who was a passenger of the Brahmaputra Mail that was travelling to the national capital, was dragged to the mango orchard and gang-raped by unidentified persons after she alighted from the train between Vikramshila and Kahalgaon stations.

She was strangled and her body hanged from a tree late on Saturday night. Police recovered the body on Sunday and sent it to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Bhagalpur for postmortem.

The victim, who hails from New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, took the train from Alipore to Delhi, along with her son. As the train was jampacked, she tried to get down at Sahibganj but was prevented from doing so by co-passengers, ASP, Bhagalpur, Meenu Kumari said. When the train slowed down between Vikramshila and Kahalgaon stations, she jumped out. It is not clear why she took this step.

A group of inebriated people then dragged her to a nearby mango orchard and sexually assaulted her. Liquor bottles were found at the spot, Kumari said.

A railway ticket and cellphone number of her village pradhan written on a piece of paper was recovered from the victim’s possession, police said.

Source

The number of reported rapes in India has increased from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. 

Death of India rape victim stirs anger, promises of actionDecember 29, 2012
A woman whose gang rape provoked protests and rare national debate about violence against women in India died from her injuries on Saturday, prompting promises of action from a government that has struggled to respond to public outrage.
The unidentified 23-year-old medical student suffered a brain injury and massive internal damage in the attack on December 16 and died in hospital in Singapore where she had been taken for treatment.
Protesters rallied peacefully in the capital New Delhi and other cities across India to keep the pressure on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government to get tougher on crimes against women. That was in contrast to the pitched battles protesters fought with police last weekend.
The six suspects held in connection with the attack on the student on a New Delhi bus were charged with murder following her death, police said. The maximum penalty for murder is death.
Authorities, worried about the reaction to the news of her death, deployed thousands of policemen, closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi, where demonstrators have converged since the attack to demand improved women’s rights.
Despite efforts to cordon off the city centre, more than 1,000 people gathered at two locations. Some protesters shouted for justice, others for the death penalty for the rapists.
Most sex crimes in India go unreported, many offenders go unpunished, and the wheels of justice turn slowly, according to social activists who say that successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women.
Political leaders vowed steps to correct “shameful social attitudes” towards women in the world’s biggest democracy.
"The need of the hour is a dispassionate debate and inquiry into the critical changes that are required in societal attitudes," the prime minister said in a statement.
"I hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to help us all reach the end that we all desire - making India a demonstrably better and safer place for women to live in."
The woman, beaten, raped and thrown out of a moving bus, had been flown to Singapore in a critical condition by the Indian government on Thursday.
She and her male friend were returning home from the cinema, media reports say, when six men on the bus beat them with metal rods and repeatedly raped the woman. Media said a rod was used in the rape, causing internal injuries. The friend survived.
"She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome," Kelvin Loh, chief executive officer of the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore said in a statement announcing her death from multiple organ failure.
The Indian government has chartered an aircraft to fly her body back to India, along with family members, T.C.A. Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner to Singapore, told reporters.
The body was taken from the hospital to a Hindu undertaker in Singapore and hours later, lying in a gold and yellow coffin selected by Indian diplomats, the body was driven in a hearse to the airport.
The plane took off from Singapore at 1630 GMT and was expected to reach New Delhi around 3 a.m. local time on Sunday (2130 GMT Saturday), the NDTV channel reported on its website citing the High Commissioner.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the northern Indian city of Lucknow. In Hyderabad, in southern India, a group of women marched to demand severe punishment for the rapists. Protests were also held in the cities of Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.
"For some reason, and I don’t really know why, she got through to us," well-known columnist Nilanjana Roy wrote in a blog on Saturday.
"Our words shriveled in the face of what she’d been subjected to by the six men travelling on that bus, who spent an hour torturing and raping her, savagely beating up her male friend.
Sonia Gandhi, the powerful leader of the ruling Congress party, directly addressed the protesters in a rare broadcast on state television, saying that as a mother and a woman she understood their grievances.
"Your voice has been heard," Gandhi said. "It deepens our determination to battle the pervasive and the shameful social attitudes that allow men to rape and molest women with such impunity."
The attack has put gender issues centre stage in Indian politics. Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide have rarely entered mainstream political discourse.
Analysts say the death of the woman dubbed “Amanat”, an Urdu word meaning “treasure,” by some Indian media could change that, although it is too early to say whether the protesters calling for government action to better safeguard women can sustain their momentum through to national elections due in 2014.
The outcry over the attack caught the government off-guard and it was slow to react. It took a week for Singh to make a statement on the attack, infuriating many protesters who saw it as a sign of a government insensitive to the plight of women.
The prime minister, an 80-year-old technocrat who speaks in a low monotone, has struggled to channel the popular outrage in his public statements and convince critics that his eight-year-old government will take steps to improve the safety of women.
"The Congress managers were ham-handed in their handling of the situation that arose after the brutal assault on the girl. The crowd management was poor," a lawmaker from Singh’s ruling Congress party said on condition of anonymity.
Commentators and sociologists say the rape has tapped into a deep well of frustration many Indians feel over what they see as weak governance and poor leadership on social issues.
A global poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June found that India was the worst place to be a woman because of high rates of infanticide, child marriage and slavery.
New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures. Government data show the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011.
Source

Death of India rape victim stirs anger, promises of action
December 29, 2012

A woman whose gang rape provoked protests and rare national debate about violence against women in India died from her injuries on Saturday, prompting promises of action from a government that has struggled to respond to public outrage.

The unidentified 23-year-old medical student suffered a brain injury and massive internal damage in the attack on December 16 and died in hospital in Singapore where she had been taken for treatment.

Protesters rallied peacefully in the capital New Delhi and other cities across India to keep the pressure on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government to get tougher on crimes against women. That was in contrast to the pitched battles protesters fought with police last weekend.

The six suspects held in connection with the attack on the student on a New Delhi bus were charged with murder following her death, police said. The maximum penalty for murder is death.

Authorities, worried about the reaction to the news of her death, deployed thousands of policemen, closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the heart of New Delhi, where demonstrators have converged since the attack to demand improved women’s rights.

Despite efforts to cordon off the city centre, more than 1,000 people gathered at two locations. Some protesters shouted for justice, others for the death penalty for the rapists.

Most sex crimes in India go unreported, many offenders go unpunished, and the wheels of justice turn slowly, according to social activists who say that successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women.

Political leaders vowed steps to correct “shameful social attitudes” towards women in the world’s biggest democracy.

"The need of the hour is a dispassionate debate and inquiry into the critical changes that are required in societal attitudes," the prime minister said in a statement.

"I hope that the entire political class and civil society will set aside narrow sectional interests and agenda to help us all reach the end that we all desire - making India a demonstrably better and safer place for women to live in."

The woman, beaten, raped and thrown out of a moving bus, had been flown to Singapore in a critical condition by the Indian government on Thursday.

She and her male friend were returning home from the cinema, media reports say, when six men on the bus beat them with metal rods and repeatedly raped the woman. Media said a rod was used in the rape, causing internal injuries. The friend survived.

"She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome," Kelvin Loh, chief executive officer of the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore said in a statement announcing her death from multiple organ failure.

The Indian government has chartered an aircraft to fly her body back to India, along with family members, T.C.A. Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner to Singapore, told reporters.

The body was taken from the hospital to a Hindu undertaker in Singapore and hours later, lying in a gold and yellow coffin selected by Indian diplomats, the body was driven in a hearse to the airport.

The plane took off from Singapore at 1630 GMT and was expected to reach New Delhi around 3 a.m. local time on Sunday (2130 GMT Saturday), the NDTV channel reported on its website citing the High Commissioner.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in the northern Indian city of Lucknow. In Hyderabad, in southern India, a group of women marched to demand severe punishment for the rapists. Protests were also held in the cities of Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

"For some reason, and I don’t really know why, she got through to us," well-known columnist Nilanjana Roy wrote in a blog on Saturday.

"Our words shriveled in the face of what she’d been subjected to by the six men travelling on that bus, who spent an hour torturing and raping her, savagely beating up her male friend.

Sonia Gandhi, the powerful leader of the ruling Congress party, directly addressed the protesters in a rare broadcast on state television, saying that as a mother and a woman she understood their grievances.

"Your voice has been heard," Gandhi said. "It deepens our determination to battle the pervasive and the shameful social attitudes that allow men to rape and molest women with such impunity."

The attack has put gender issues centre stage in Indian politics. Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide have rarely entered mainstream political discourse.

Analysts say the death of the woman dubbed “Amanat”, an Urdu word meaning “treasure,” by some Indian media could change that, although it is too early to say whether the protesters calling for government action to better safeguard women can sustain their momentum through to national elections due in 2014.

The outcry over the attack caught the government off-guard and it was slow to react. It took a week for Singh to make a statement on the attack, infuriating many protesters who saw it as a sign of a government insensitive to the plight of women.

The prime minister, an 80-year-old technocrat who speaks in a low monotone, has struggled to channel the popular outrage in his public statements and convince critics that his eight-year-old government will take steps to improve the safety of women.

"The Congress managers were ham-handed in their handling of the situation that arose after the brutal assault on the girl. The crowd management was poor," a lawmaker from Singh’s ruling Congress party said on condition of anonymity.

Commentators and sociologists say the rape has tapped into a deep well of frustration many Indians feel over what they see as weak governance and poor leadership on social issues.

A global poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June found that India was the worst place to be a woman because of high rates of infanticide, child marriage and slavery.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures. Government data show the number of reported rape cases in the country rose by nearly 17 percent between 2007 and 2011.

Source

India’s gang-rape protesters defy moves to quell outrageDecember 23, 2012
The Indian government moved on Sunday to stamp out protests that have swelled in New Delhi since the gang-rape of a young woman, banning gatherings of more than five people, but still thousands poured into the heart of the capital to vent their anger.
Police used tear gas and batons to hold crowds back from marching on the president’s palace, just as they did the day before. About 30 to 35 people, including a few policemen, were being treated at a nearby hospital for injuries, two doctors said.
The 23-year-old victim of the December 16 attack, who was beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was still in a critical condition on respiratory support but responding to treatment, doctors said.
Six men have been arrested for the assault.
New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures.
Most sexual assaults go unreported and unremarked, but the brutality of last week’s attack triggered the biggest protests in the capital since mid-2011 demonstrations against corruption that rocked the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The protesters, predominantly college students but also housewives and even children, are demanding more steps from the authorities to ensure safety for women - particularly better policing - and some want the death penalty for the accused.
Several metro stations were closed and many roads into the administrative centre of the city were barricaded on Sunday to prevent a build-up of protesters.
However, by late afternoon the crowd around the India Gate monument - normally a festive place on a Sunday - had swollen to several thousand.
Scuffles broke out near government buildings, where youths shouted “Down with Delhi police!” and threw bottles at the forces holding them back. Angry protesters later overturned a vehicle and seized police vans.
Gandhi gets flak 
Since last week’s rape, the authorities have promised better police patrolling to ensure safety for women returning from work and entertainment districts, the installation of GPS on public transport vehicles, more buses at night, and fast-track courts for swift verdicts on cases of rape and sexual assault.
However, that has not been enough to placate protesters in New Delhi and other cities across the country, where the past week began with peaceful candle-light vigils and ended with a spasm of violence in the capital.
Bowing to public pressure, Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress party, emerged from her residence after midnight to talk to protesters. She went out again on Sunday with her son, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as a future prime minister.
"She assured us of justice," said one of the students who met the Gandhis.
Some others, though, shouted “Down with Sonia Gandhi!” and accused politicians of indifference to the plight of ordinary citizens.
"It’s time she (Sonia Gandhi) takes the bull by the horns and make this country safe for women. Be it better policing or strongly penalizing offenders," said Rukmani Dutta, a final-year political science student at Delhi University.
Protesters said they would continue to demonstrate until they get firm assurances from the government.
"Until and unless the government understands the pulse of the people and imposes strict action against these criminals, we will not relent," said Sherry Kaur, a student at Indraprastha University, also in New Delhi.
Source

India’s gang-rape protesters defy moves to quell outrage
December 23, 2012

The Indian government moved on Sunday to stamp out protests that have swelled in New Delhi since the gang-rape of a young woman, banning gatherings of more than five people, but still thousands poured into the heart of the capital to vent their anger.

Police used tear gas and batons to hold crowds back from marching on the president’s palace, just as they did the day before. About 30 to 35 people, including a few policemen, were being treated at a nearby hospital for injuries, two doctors said.

The 23-year-old victim of the December 16 attack, who was beaten, raped for almost an hour and thrown out of a moving bus in New Delhi, was still in a critical condition on respiratory support but responding to treatment, doctors said.

Six men have been arrested for the assault.

New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes among India’s major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures.

Most sexual assaults go unreported and unremarked, but the brutality of last week’s attack triggered the biggest protests in the capital since mid-2011 demonstrations against corruption that rocked the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The protesters, predominantly college students but also housewives and even children, are demanding more steps from the authorities to ensure safety for women - particularly better policing - and some want the death penalty for the accused.

Several metro stations were closed and many roads into the administrative centre of the city were barricaded on Sunday to prevent a build-up of protesters.

However, by late afternoon the crowd around the India Gate monument - normally a festive place on a Sunday - had swollen to several thousand.

Scuffles broke out near government buildings, where youths shouted “Down with Delhi police!” and threw bottles at the forces holding them back. Angry protesters later overturned a vehicle and seized police vans.

Gandhi gets flak 

Since last week’s rape, the authorities have promised better police patrolling to ensure safety for women returning from work and entertainment districts, the installation of GPS on public transport vehicles, more buses at night, and fast-track courts for swift verdicts on cases of rape and sexual assault.

However, that has not been enough to placate protesters in New Delhi and other cities across the country, where the past week began with peaceful candle-light vigils and ended with a spasm of violence in the capital.

Bowing to public pressure, Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress party, emerged from her residence after midnight to talk to protesters. She went out again on Sunday with her son, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as a future prime minister.

"She assured us of justice," said one of the students who met the Gandhis.

Some others, though, shouted “Down with Sonia Gandhi!” and accused politicians of indifference to the plight of ordinary citizens.

"It’s time she (Sonia Gandhi) takes the bull by the horns and make this country safe for women. Be it better policing or strongly penalizing offenders," said Rukmani Dutta, a final-year political science student at Delhi University.

Protesters said they would continue to demonstrate until they get firm assurances from the government.

"Until and unless the government understands the pulse of the people and imposes strict action against these criminals, we will not relent," said Sherry Kaur, a student at Indraprastha University, also in New Delhi.

Source

School in New Delhi offers free education to India’s poor children
December 5, 2012

One Indian man has become a hero after he began educating New Delhi’s poorest children — and even went as far as creating a free school for them under a metro bridge.

According to NBC News, Rajesh Kumar Sharma teaches at least 30 children every day. Most of the children come from neighboring poor villages.

For two hours every weekday, Sharma leaves his day-job at a general store in Shakarpur — his brother fills in for him — so that he can teach the children, reported Yahoo News.

Sharma, a 40-year-old father of three from Aligarh, was forced to drop out of college in his third year due to financial difficulties. When he decided to start the free school, he didn’t want other children to face the same difficulties he had.

“Whenever I passed by this area, I would notice that children were spending all their time in the fields or playing around,” he told the Indian Express.

He eventually persuaded local laborers and farmers to allow their children to attend his school instead of working to add to the family income. He hopes to equip these children with the tools necessary to overcome their poverty.

"They come here everyday. I manage to keep them ahead of the school curriculum,” Sharma told the Indian Express.

He even allows children technically too young to attend the government school to sit in the classroom.

Sharma starts at the basics and helps prepare the children for admission to government schools. When he started the school a year ago, he had 140 students. Now 70 of them are in government schools, reported Yahoo News.

"Our teacher has told us that when poverty strikes, you should open your mind, and that can be done only through education,” Abhishek, 15, a student of Sharma’s told the Indian Express.

His work isn’t limited to the school under the bridge, though. Sharma has been teaching underprivileged children in other parts of the city as well.

“I mostly taught laborers’ children. As they moved from site to site, it got difficult to follow them everywhere,” he said.

Laxmi Chandra, a postgraduate in science, also helps out at the school.

“I don’t take attendance. They love coming here because there are no school-like boundaries. In fact, I want to keep it like that,” Chandra told the Indian Express.

Sharma says his greatest achievement is changing the attitude of his students’ parents. Many of them now encourage their children to study.

“They understand that if children in the villages in the interiors of the country can go to schools, why not in the national capital.”

Source

More than 100 Anonymous Protesters and Hacktivists Take to the Streets in India
June 10, 2012
'Hacktivist' group Anonymous took its protest offline in India on Saturday and has continued to protest on Sunday.
Protesters claiming allegiance to the shadowy international group spilled out on to the streets of Indian cities for a ‘real-life’ accompaniment to the website attacks they have carried out to protest Internet censorship. ‘Anons’ rallied in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and other cities to demonstrate against what they see as the growing spectre of government control online.
"The Internet is one of the only really free media that we have, because nobody is identifiable and nobody can be stopped," said Mohit Garg, a B.Tech student wearing one of the ubiquitous Guy Fawkes masks that have become Anonymous’ trademark.
The rallies came in response to openended court orders ordering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure pirated movies don’t end up on websites and torrent search engines online. Rather than singling out individual pirates, the ISPs ended up blocking entire sites that are frequented by pirates - and other ones, such as bookmarking app Xmarks, that have little or nothing to do with Internet piracy.
"The blanket ban doesn’t work for anyone. When you compare it with the normal process, someone at least gets a trial before being found guilty," said Sahil, a student from IP University at the Jantar Mantar protest in Delhi.
Source

More than 100 Anonymous Protesters and Hacktivists Take to the Streets in India

June 10, 2012

'Hacktivist' group Anonymous took its protest offline in India on Saturday and has continued to protest on Sunday.

Protesters claiming allegiance to the shadowy international group spilled out on to the streets of Indian cities for a ‘real-life’ accompaniment to the website attacks they have carried out to protest Internet censorship. ‘Anons’ rallied in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and other cities to demonstrate against what they see as the growing spectre of government control online.

"The Internet is one of the only really free media that we have, because nobody is identifiable and nobody can be stopped," said Mohit Garg, a B.Tech student wearing one of the ubiquitous Guy Fawkes masks that have become Anonymous’ trademark.

The rallies came in response to openended court orders ordering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure pirated movies don’t end up on websites and torrent search engines online. Rather than singling out individual pirates, the ISPs ended up blocking entire sites that are frequented by pirates - and other ones, such as bookmarking app Xmarks, that have little or nothing to do with Internet piracy.

"The blanket ban doesn’t work for anyone. When you compare it with the normal process, someone at least gets a trial before being found guilty," said Sahil, a student from IP University at the Jantar Mantar protest in Delhi.

Source

Protest demonstration at Bihar Bhawan on the eve of 1st anniversary of Forbesganj killingsJune 2, 2012
New Delhi: Activists belonging to several social and human rights organizations gathered at Bihar Bhawan here on Saturday and protest against the killing of innocent villagers in Bhajanpur in Forbesganj block of Araria district in Bihar one year ago. Protesters demanded justice for the victims of Forbesganj Police firing and immediate action against guilty officials and provide compensation to the victims.
“One year has passed and the victims are still waiting for Justice. The Commission instituted to investigate the matter is yet to submit its report though it was supposed to submit it within 6 months,” said Mahtab Alam, a civil rights activist and one of the organizers of the protest.
Source

Protest demonstration at Bihar Bhawan on the eve of 1st anniversary of Forbesganj killings
June 2, 2012

New Delhi: Activists belonging to several social and human rights organizations gathered at Bihar Bhawan here on Saturday and protest against the killing of innocent villagers in Bhajanpur in Forbesganj block of Araria district in Bihar one year ago. Protesters demanded justice for the victims of Forbesganj Police firing and immediate action against guilty officials and provide compensation to the victims.

“One year has passed and the victims are still waiting for Justice. The Commission instituted to investigate the matter is yet to submit its report though it was supposed to submit it within 6 months,” said Mahtab Alam, a civil rights activist and one of the organizers of the protest.

Source

New Delhi - April 21, 2012
The protestors at Jantar Mantar broke earthen pots full of milk to demonstrate their anger at the government’s apathy. “For the last several months we have been asking the government to take action, we even wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to intervene for the sake of the poor milk producers, but nothing has come if it,” said Ramesh Chandra Aggarwal of the Gawala Gaddi Samiti.
The group says that while companies and federations walk away with the profits, the poor milk producers are left with little. They are made to sell milk on relatively cheaper prices and the same milk is then resold to the consumers at very high prices. - Milkmen protest against government apathy 

New Delhi - April 21, 2012

The protestors at Jantar Mantar broke earthen pots full of milk to demonstrate their anger at the government’s apathy. “For the last several months we have been asking the government to take action, we even wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to intervene for the sake of the poor milk producers, but nothing has come if it,” said Ramesh Chandra Aggarwal of the Gawala Gaddi Samiti.

The group says that while companies and federations walk away with the profits, the poor milk producers are left with little. They are made to sell milk on relatively cheaper prices and the same milk is then resold to the consumers at very high prices. - Milkmen protest against government apathy