Police fired tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge Saturday to disperse thousands of people who had gathered at Raisina Hill here to protest against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a bus six days ago.
But the government said it was already acting on the protesters' demands and appealed for calm.
Some of the protesters, who were injured in the police action, were taken to a hospital.
Police first used water canons to disperse the crowd but as the protesters did not budge, they used tear gas shells and wielded sticks.
Policemen were seen chasing people, many of them students. Some protesters resorted to stone-pelting too.
As the people reassembled, police again used water cannons to disperse them.
Apart from Raisina Hill, protesters had converged at India Gate too.
Minister of State for Home R.P.N. Singh said police had been asked to exercise maximum restraint and the government was acting on people's demands.
The minister told a news channel that police could not allow people to break barricades and enter government buildings.
Calling for calm, he said there was no police action at places where protesters were peaceful.
Some people, he said, were trying to make it an unruly mob.
"I'm not justifying use of tear gas," R.P.N. Singh said but added that there were attempts to break barricades in the sensitive area close to the president's house and other key government offices.
"Government is hearing them (the protesters) loud and clear," he said.
Image: Demonstrators react as police unleash water cannon during a protest calling for better safety for women following the rape of a student last week, in front of the Government Secretariat and Presidential Palace in New Delhi on December 22, 2012. Police on December 22 baton-charged, tear-gassed and fired water cannon at demonstrators who were demanding better safety for women following the brutal gang-rape of a student last weekend. Thousands of protesters, who rallied at the India Gate monument in the heart of the capital and surged toward the president's palace, were calling for stepped-up security for women across the country.