Delhi gang rape protests policeman dies

Protesters shield themselves as Indian police prepare to beat them with sticks (23 December 2012) Demonstrators defied a ban to protest against the gang rape

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A policeman who was injured during violent protests over the gang rape of a woman in the Indian capital Delhi has died in hospital.

Subhash Tomar, 47, was injured in clashes at the weekend in which more than 100 people, including at least 60 officers, were injured.

The rape, which happened on a bus, has left the woman in a critical condition and caused outrage in India.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh has appealed for calm in the city.

Mr Singh said his government would "make all possible efforts to ensure security and safety to all women".

The victim continues to be on life support and in a critical condition in a city hospital, doctors say.

Six people, including the bus driver, have already been arrested in connection with the incident.

Mr Tomar, a constable with the city police, was injured during the protests at India Gate in the heart of the capital on Sunday.

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It took nearly a week of protests for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to appear on TV pleading for calm”

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Violence erupted as demonstrators tried to break through police barricades to march on President Pranab Mukherjee's palace.

Mr Tomar suffered a heart attack and had been on life support in hospital early on Tuesday.

"The protesters pelted stones at Mr Tomar, he was unconscious for two days and today he died," police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP news agency.

Police had arrested eight people, including an activist of a newly formed anti-corruption political party, in connection with "the injuries caused to Mr Tomar".

A relative of Mr Tomar said he was attacked by a mob.

"My cousin was always out on streets maintaining law and order. The mob attacked him for no reason. They just killed him," said Ajay Tomar.

The authorities have kept roads and metro stations shut since Monday to stop protesters, leading to massive traffic jams.

The government has tried to halt the rising anger by announcing a series of measures intended to make Delhi safer for women.

These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.

Two policemen have also been suspended in connection with the incident, which happened on 16 December.

But the protesters say the government's pledge to seek life sentences for the attackers is not enough - many are calling for the death penalty.

The 23-year-old victim and her friend had been to watch a film when they boarded the bus in the Munirka area intending to travel to Dwarka in south-west Delhi.

Police said she was raped for nearly an hour, both she and her companion were beaten with iron bars and thrown out of the moving bus into a Delhi street.

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