Delhi bus gang rape: Water cannon used on protesters

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder says people are shocked that a modern city has such a poor record for women's safety

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Police in the Indian capital Delhi have used water cannon to disperse protesters angry at Sunday night's gang rape of a 23-year-old student.

The protesters were hosed as they tried to bring down metal barricades outside Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's home.

Meanwhile, the government has announced a series of measures to make the capital safer for women.

There has been outrage in India after the student and her male friend were attacked on a bus.

The woman remains in a critical condition, doctors say.

Four people, including the bus driver, have been arrested. Police say they are looking for two more people.

Three of the arrested appeared in court on Wednesday and were remanded in custody. The driver was produced in court on Tuesday and also remanded in custody.

Some reports said a fifth man detained in the eastern state of Bihar was being brought to Delhi.

On Tuesday night, the chief of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, visited the hospital where the student is being treated.

Mrs Gandhi later said that the "strictest possible measures" should be taken to prevent such incidents.

Dozens of protesters, mostly college students, gathered outside the chief minister's home on Wednesday morning, demanding that the government ensure safety of women in the capital city.

Many of the protesters were carrying banners and chanting: "We want equal rights for women."

The government has come under tremendous pressure from opposition MPs, students and women's rights activists, with many accusing the authorities of not doing enough to stop crimes against women.

On Wednesday, women MPs from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held a demonstration outside parliament while hundreds of activists and students shouted slogans outside the Delhi police headquarters.

New safety measures

Also on Wednesday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde was forced by angry MPs in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, to make a statement for the second time in as many days.

Mr Shinde said there would be more police night patrols, and all bus drivers and their assistants would be subject to checks.

"Private buses, when not in use, must be parked with their owners and the photo identification of the driver and staff of every bus would have to be displayed, and the police would enforce this," he said.

The bus which was used for Sunday night's crime had dark tinted glass. Mr Shinde said "buses with dark windows and curtains would be impounded".

Earlier in the day, Mr Shinde held a meeting with the top officials of the Delhi police.

The police were also criticised by the Delhi High Court, which asked them to give a report on the incident in two days.

"How did the bus cross five police checkpoints without anybody stopping it?" the judges asked. "Those responsible have to be punished," they warned.

The incident has caused outrage across the country and lawmakers from all parties have expressed their horror.

Angry MPs have demanded the death penalty for the rapists, and protests and candle-lit vigils have been held in the capital.

The woman and her friend boarded the bus in Munirka area and were on their way to Dwarka in south-west Delhi.

They were returning after watching a film in a shopping centre in south Delhi, police said.

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