An Indian policeman injured in clashes during a protest over a gang rape in New Delhi died yesterday, a police spokesman said, as much of the city center remains sealed off following the violence.
The 47-year-old police constable, Subash Tomar, was deployed at the India Gate monument on Sunday to control the protests. He was beaten up by a mob and rushed to hospital by the police.
“The protesters pelted stones at Tomar, he was unconscious for two days and today he died,” New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.
More than 50 policemen were injured in Sunday’s violence as police struggled to quell increasing outrage over sex crimes after the gang rape of a 23-year-old student.
Tomar’s cousin Ajay who was in the hospital to claim the body said he had joined the police in 1985 and never spent a single festival with the family.
“My cousin was always out on streets maintaining law and order. The mob attacked him for no reason. They just killed him,” Ajay Tomar said.
Much of central Delhi remains sealed off after a wave of violent protests over the student’s gang rape in the capital on Dec. 16 and a surge in violence against women.
The rape victim’s medical condition deteriorated on Monday night and she “continues to be in the intensive care unit and is having respiratory problems,” said M. Mishra, a doctor at Safdarjung Hospital.
In a rare televised address, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday called for calm following the weekend clashes in New Delhi and vowed to punish the rapists for their “monstrous” crime.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has also appealed to the youth to maintain law and order.
“The anger of the youth should not overcome reason and there is need for practical action,” Mukherjee said, according to reports.
Police barricaded roads leading to India Gate, an imposing war memorial in the center of the city, that has become a hub of the protests by mostly college students. Many metro rail stations in fog-shrouded Delhi were also closed.
“Today is Christmas, but we cannot step out of our houses because of the police restrictions,” Anita Kumar, a mother of three daughters, told Hindi news channel Aaj Tak.
Protests against sex crimes have taken place across India over the last week to denounce the police and government. The biggest protests were in New Delhi on the weekend, prompting police to cordon off areas around government buildings.
More than 100 people were injured, including dozens of policemen.
National figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year were against women, with the number of rapes in the capital rising 17 percent to 661 this year.