India Gate Protests over Gangrape: Delhi Spring on Anvil?

The sudden turn out of the events at India Gate in New Delhi on Saturday are but another in a series of such protests which are plaguing the central government over its inefficiency and ill-prepared leadership to address such problems of national character. All the youth present were obviously frustrated over the way the government machinery failed in restoring the basic tenets of democracy in order, let alone providing an economic safety valve.

The protests, reminscent of similar Arab Spring protests in Egypt and other Arab nations in the last two years and if it had failed to send the message to the mandarins in Morth Block, then we can only predict the failure of the entire government machinery soon. Here are some ways to address the problem at hand first:

1. First and foremost, block people from other areas from entering Delhi for a month.

2. Evacuate protesters peacefully. Any use of lathicharge or teargas shells will be self-defeating as the protesters are not farmers but educated youth.

3. The government should issue an ordinance making gang rape or any such rarest of rare atrocity punishable under Sec. 306 of IPC amounting to death penalty.

4. Unless the government acts immediately, there is every scope that the protests might spiral into huge country-wide protests reflecting the ongoing frustration among the youth, especially the ordinary middle class of the country.

5. Like in Japan during the 1960s and 1970s, these protests need to be addressed with long-term vision. The entire area of India Gate should be prohibited from staging protests and a different protest area should be demarcated in New Delhi for such activities.

The government should bide time for at least a month to address individual safety issues in any city or village by strengthening the teeth of the commissions meant for women, children or senior citizens or the middle class, writ large.


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