NEW DELHI • Indian police yesterday fired water cannon at protesters rallying in the capital against the failure to provide greater safety for women, after a teenage girl was allegedly stabbed to death.
Dozens of angry demonstrators, mainly from New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, tried to break through barricades erected around police headquarters, over the alleged murder of the 19-year-old last week.
Family members say she was stabbed to death in their central Delhi neighbourhood after trying to avoid being harassed by two men late last Thursday. The 11th-grader was stabbed 35 times, according to local media.
The city government accused the police of abetting the killing through "inaction", saying they had not registered several complaints filed by the victim against the perpetrators - two brothers from the area - since 2013.
"It is beyond comprehension that a crime has been perpetuated in the capital city despite prior complaints," New Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain wrote in a letter to city police chief Bhim Sain Bassi late last Saturday.
"The inaction of police failed to provide security to the deceased girl," he said, demanding a detailed report by today. Mr Kejriwal is also scheduled to meet Mr Bassi over the incident today.
The police have arrested both brothers and are investigating the case, which has once again highlighted the issue of women's safety in India and particularly in Delhi, which has been dubbed the "rape capital" following a string of high-profile sex assaults.
The fatal gang-rape of a medical student in December 2012 on a bus in Delhi triggered mass protests and led to a tightening of laws on sex crimes.
Delhi's special status as a partial state means that many of its key services - including the police force - are controlled by the national government.
Mr Kejriwal, who has been fighting to get greater powers of control over the police, has blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "the deteriorating law and order situation in Delhi".