WELCOME TO RAISINA HELL
On Saturday morning, a fleet named Varun (vehicles fitted with water cannons) and several police vans were waiting for the protesters at Indian democracy's neighbourhood of power Raisina Hill - which hosts the President's house, North Block, South Block and Parliament.
But far from dousing the popular anger, the water cannons served to multiply the outrage. On television and social media, near office watercoolers and at street corners across the nation, people wondered if the government was competent to deal with citizens' protests, and if it was in touch with Young India at all.
As TV screens beamed images of police action 24X7, the crowd swelled. Spontaneous protests broke out in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and other cities, powered by internet and mobile phones.
In Delhi, more and more young people arrived around 5.30pm and took over the Rajpath stretch from India Gate to Vijay Chowk at the foot of Raisina Hill. Batonwielding cops sought to push them away from Vijay Chowk towards the Rajpath-Rafi Marg intersection. As chaos broke out again, some protesters damaged DTC buses, vandalised police vehicles, damaged fencing and the seasonal plantation at the Central Vista.