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Indian PM appeals for calm amid rape protests

24 December 2012

Police in New Delhi clashed with protesters enraged by the rape of a young woman on Monday. Authorities also closed roads and railway stations in the heart of the Indian capital in a bid to restore order. On December 16 the 23-year-old victim was beaten and gang-raped for nearly an hour before being thrown from a moving bus. She is said to be still in a critical condition in hospital on respiratory support. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has been caught off-guard by the scale of the protests and Singh has come under fire for remaining largely silent since the rape. He waited a week before issuing his first statement, and later on Monday he made a televised address to appeal for calm. “Anger at this crime is justified, but violence will serve no purpose. I appeal to all concerned citizens to maintain peace and calm. I assure you that we will make all possible efforts to ensure the security and safety of women in this country.” The rape seems to have hit a nerve with many Indians frustrated with what they see as weak governance on social and economic issues, especially complaining that it has done little to create a safer environment for women. According to police figures a rape is reported on average every 18 hours in New Delhi.