In what is being seen as the next biggest uprising India saw since Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption, the protest march that commenced today on India Gate has surely got the parliament at its toes.
The official time of beginning the protest was 9 am, however such was the charge amongst people that a significant crowd could be seen assembling from 7:30 am. Slogans of “Delhi Police hai hai!”, “Hang the rapist” and “We want justice” echoed across the entire stretch of Rajpath. Several street play groups came up and vehemently put forward the appeal of death penalty, or something more harsh and cruel for the perpetrators. A very significant part of this protest was that a lot of school students could be seen, accompanied by their teachers. They could be seen holding banners and echoing the appeals that the entire nation seems to voice- punish hard and punish fast.
Celebrities preferred to hide behind the veils of Twitter and their support ended at that. “It seems ironical. The same celebrities who say so many things about social change on T.V. never actually do something to use their star power to the fullest potential”, said Nikita, a protestor. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, former Governor of Bengal showed up to voice his support.
According to me, this protest was slightly different from its past counterparts and by different I mean in a good sense. Lesser were the number of men who went to protests to engage in some “bird watching”. Lesser were the attention seeking people trying to hog into media limelight by coming to such territories. Lesser were the number of people who came with their friends to watch the tamasha. Of course, you could spot some bored looking men wandering aimlessly, giving the protestors a queer expression, clearly realizing they don’t fit in. You could also spot some ladies all dressed up in the “perfect protest March ensemble” trying to attract a media person to let her protest in front of the camera.
However, as far as the majority was concerned, the anger within them seemed genuine and an honest concern for the rape victim could be felt. There was unity in the crowd which prevented the crowd from turning into a violent mob. The only violence that existed was towards the inefficiency of the police and law makers.
Later on, things turned a little problematic when the crowd tried to force themselves in into the President House premises. The police began a lathi charge and tear gas was splashed. This only perpetuated the anger towards the government. Many people were injured and admitted into RML hospital.
Image credits: Kirti Narain