New Delhi: Several rounds of teargas shells and water cannons were used as young students demanding justice for the 23-year-old gangrape victim clashed with police at the Raisina Hill, the seat of power.

Repeated resort to firing of shells and water jets failed to dampen the spirit of several hundreds of young students, both girls and boys, as they tried to breach the police barricades to march towards towards Rashtrapati Bhavan for the second day protesting against the government and police “inaction”.

Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh lent supporters to the protesters when he joined them at the India Gate and blamed the “systemic collapse” for the brutal rape of the young girl in a moving bus last Sunday.

Some people were removed by police and detained as the situation threatened to go out of hand.  A boy and a girl and a traffic policeman were injured in the melee when protesters threw stones, shoes and missiles in which police vehicles and buses were damaged.

Tear gas shells and water failed to deter the protesters who refused to vacate the area that houses the North and South Blocks including the Prime Minister’s office and turned the area into a virtual battleground.

After a ding-dong battle with the police,  hundres of protesters resorted to a sit-in the area chanting slogans against the government and the police.  They demanded stern measures to prevent incidents of rape and other crimes against women.

Window panes of a police van were smashed. One of the girls broke the glass window of a bus with her hands.

The police action came as  ‘negotiations’ failed at the Raisina Hill leading to Rashtrapati Bhawan failed and the protesters, comprising largely young women and men, tried to breach the barricades to push towards the Rashtrapati  Bhawan.

The area has been cordoned off and police reinforcements, including a contingent of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been rushed to the Hill that divides the North and South Block, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office.

Girl protesters alleged that policemen hit them with lathis and declared they will launch a sit-in in the area. Protests refused to disperse from the place.

An injured girl has been rushed to hospital.

The youths gathered at India Gate from early in the morning and marched through Rajpath towards Raisina Hill. They broke the security cordons erected on Rajpath and managed to reach near Raisina Hill where they were stopped.

Yesterday too, the capital witnessed several protests, including one in front of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The former army chief said “You see this problem is because of systemic failure of governance. Police reforms have been lying in cold storage for the last so many years. Why haven’t they done anything about it? Why do we have to hear such things from a police commissioner saying that he doesn’t have man-power? It is shameful.

“Why do you have to see the spectacle on television where Ministry of Home officials have to go out on the streets checking things? Isn’t there a failure? This needs to be addressed. This failure comes because of political and bureaucratic apathy in this country,” the former Army chief said.

The area has been cordoned off and police reinforcements, including a contingent of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been rushed to the Hill that divides the North and South Block, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office.

Girl protesters alleged that policemen hit them with lathis and declared they will launch a sit-in in the area. Protests refused to disperse from the place.

An injured girl has been rushed to hospital.

The youths gathered at India Gate from early in the morning and marched through Rajpath towards Raisina Hill. They broke the security cordons erected on Rajpath and managed to reach near Raisina Hill where they were stopped.

Yesterday too, the capital witnessed several protests, including one in front of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The former army chief said “You see this problem is because of systemic failure of governance. Police reforms have been lying in cold storage for the last so many years. Why haven’t they done anything about it? Why do we have to hear such things from a police commissioner saying that he doesn’t have man-power? It is shameful.

“Why do you have to see the spectacle on television where Ministry of Home officials have to go out on the streets checking things? Isn’t there a failure? This needs to be addressed. This failure comes because of political and bureaucratic apathy in this country,” the former Army chief said.

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