Pointing out that they are merely demanding justice for the victim of the Delhi gangrape, the protesters said that the home minister should not have drawn a parallel between them and the violent adherents of Maoism.
Explaining to CNN-IBN, why he did not bother to talk to the protesters at India Gate yesterday? Shinde had said: "It's very easy to say that the Home Minister should go meet protesters there. Tomorrow if BJP workers demonstrate or if Maoists demonstrate with weapons, will I go and meet them too?"
His words incensed not only the protesters but also the opposition parties. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedar noted that "P Chidambaram as the Home Minister was willing to talk to even Maoists." He stressed that the government needs to talk to "genuine protesters".
CPI-M's Brinda Karat slammed Shinde too and said that it is difficult for her to "understand this Home Minister". Aam Adami Party leader Arvind Kejriwal rued that Shinde had made such a remark.
The government's failure to address the issues raised by the protesters has already heightened their angst and yet surprisingly there has been no effort to calm down the angry women and youth.
The protesters are not thronging India Gate today due to the extraordinary steps taken to clear the entire area but the rulers should not heave a sigh of relief as public outrage is considerable.
Mere assurances like the one from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that better security will be provided to women henceforth may not be enough to stop the situation from spiralling out of control.
With doctors at Safdarjung hospital making it clear that the 23-year-old paramedical student, whom six men raped on a moving bus on Dec 16, is still not out of danger, the government must assuage the protesters immediately. After all, everyone seems to agree with the latter that the rapists deserve harsh punishment.