Hundreds of demonstrators scuffled with police in New Delhi on Sunday (6 April), when they were prevented from marching on the Indian president's residence to present a petition protesting at the continued use of emergency powers by the Government.
GV Crowd of demonstrators, two holding banner, walking down street in New Delhi.
SV Police cordon preventing demonstrators going further.
SV Crowd trying to force way though police and two demonstrators being taken away by police. (3 shots)
SV Arrested group of demonstrators being led to police van. (2 shots)
SCU Two women shouting protests from police van.
SV Police ZOOM OUT TO GV of
GV PAN Police vans driving off.
Initials VS 17.45
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Hundreds of demonstrators scuffled with police in New Delhi on Sunday (6 April), when they were prevented from marching on the Indian president's residence to present a petition protesting at the continued use of emergency powers by the Government. The demonstrators belonged mainly to the no-communist opposition parties, and their leaders claim that there is no justification for the government continuing the state of emergency, which was introduced at the time of the Indo-Pakistan war, which started in December, 1971.
They say the emergency powers could have been lifted immediately after the war, or at least after the Simla agreement of July 1972. The members of the movement claim that -- by using the emergency powers -- the Government is restricting civil liberties, throwing thousands of political opponents in jail, and crushing popular movements.
Under the emergency powers those who took part in Sunday's demonstration were risking arrest. Many of them were arrested for having violated Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits the assembly of five or more people in a public place.
The demonstrators had assembled for the beginning of the march at the New Delhi Boat Club. Their intention was to march to the President's house where a delegation was to present a petition. But, before they reached the residence, cordons of police blocked their way and scuffles broke out.
Before the march, the demonstrators had said that they had written to the city's Deputy Commissioner requesting permission to hold the demonstration. But if permission was not forthcoming, that they would defy the prohibitory orders and risk arrest.