Fury over the gang rape in New Delhi has intensified as thousands of protesters gathered outside Rashtrapati Bhavan (the presidential palace) in the Indian capital demanding the death penalty for the perpetrators.

Police fired teargas shells and used water cannon in an attempt to control the protesters, who gathered in the road leading to the presidential palace.

Clashes have been reported between the police and the protesters. So deep is the anger that one girl is reported to have broken a window of a police van with her bare hands.

More than a dozen people have been injured in the protests and taken to nearby hospitals. The number of protesters is increasing and police have detained many of them to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

Some of the young men and women hurled shoes and stones at the police, who in turn conducted a baton charge.

Hundreds of protesters have reportedly decided to stage a sit-in at important places in New Delhi including India Gate, and near the prime minister's office.

The protests began soon after negotiations with the police and government failed to produce any results.

Former army chief General V K Singh, who was also present at the India Gate protest, demanded that the government take strict action over the issue.

"You see this problem is because of systemic failure of governance. Police reforms have been lying in cold storage for the last so many years. Why haven't they done anything about it? Why do we have to hear such things from a police commissioner saying that he doesn't have manpower? It is shameful," said Singh.

He added: "Why do you have to see the spectacle on television where ministry of home officials have to go out on the streets checking things? Isn't there a failure? This needs to be addressed. This failure comes because of political and bureaucratic apathy in this country."