Protesters turn away Sheila Dikshit from Jantar Mantar

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had to make a hasty retreat from Jantar Mantar, after demonstrators protested against her presence at the venue where hundreds had gathered to mourn the death of the gang-rape victim.

Dikshit arrived unannounced in the afternoon at Jantar Mantar and proceeded to light a candle. However, some of the protesters surrounded her and objected to her presence. Her security personnel tried to reason with the demonstrators, but fearing that the situation would turn ugly, they quickly steered the chief minister away.

''I had gone there to express my grief at the death of the girl,'' Dikshit told reporters later. However, some of the protesters questioned why she had not come a few days earlier when people had gathered to protest against the rape.

The demonstrators began gathering at Jantar Mantar from Saturday morning, hours after the victim died at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth hospital. But the authorities had tightened security across Lutyen's Delhi, preventing demonstrators from gathering at other places including India Gate and Raisina Hill.

Dikshit had earlier in the day asked home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to allow demonstrators to gather at India Gate, but he refused to allow the crowds anywhere near the monument. The Delhi police is under the control of the union home ministry.

Ten metro stations, including Rajiv Chowk, Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Central Secretariat and Race Course, had been locked to prevent demonstrators from descending on India Gate.