Rohtak (Haryana): Five people, including three women, sustained injuries here when police caned protestors who were rallying against recent incidents of rape in Haryana.
The protest rally was organised by women's organisations, and led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat. Rohtak, 75 km from Delhi, where the protest was held, is also the home town of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The women were protesting the sharp rise in crimes against women in the state over the past couple of months.
The protestors wanted to gherao the deputy commissioner of Rohtak, and were proceeding to his office in the mini-secretariat, but were intercepted by police outside the Congress office at Ambedkar Chowk, where barricades had been installed to stop their onward march.
As protestors tried to break through the barricades, police resorted to caning them. The injured were later given medical aid.
Brinda Karat, who was also stopped, lambasted the Haryana Police and the Hooda government for their failure to prevent crimes against women.
"We were marching peacefully against the rising incidents of crime against women in the state, and we wanted to submit a memorandum to the Rohtak deputy commissioner. The police not only intercepted us forcefully, but also caused injuries to five activists," Brinda Karat told IANS.
"Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is not making serious efforts to curb the rising incidents of crime against women. Despite so many incidents of rape within a month, adequate steps are not being taken for the security and safety of women, especially in rural areas," Karat said.
Jagmati Sangwan, vice president of Akhil Bhartiya Janwadi Mahila Samiti, said that the state government was deliberately not providing police security to rape victims and their families while the accused were trying to build pressure on victims and their families, to enter into a compromise.
Terming the khap panchayat leader's suggestion of lowering the marriageable age to curb rape incidents as "astonishing", Karat said: "How could the khaps even have suggested such a 'solution' of reducing marriageable age, when it is against the law? Is legitimising rape within marriage a solution?"
Relatives of rape victims from Dabra, Hisar, Jind, Gurgaon and Mewat also spoke during the protest, asserting that they would not give up the struggle for justice.