The flame has only got brighter

Peo­ple re­turned to Jan­tar Man­tar on Sun­day with re­newed vigour to de­mand jus­tice for the Delhi gan­grape vic­tim

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - SPECIAL -

NEW DELHI: Pro­test­ers re­turned with in­creased vigour to Jan­tar Man­tar amid heavy po­lice pres­ence on Sun­day. They con­tin­ued to de­mand jus­tice for the 23-year-old gan­grape vic­tim who passed away on Satur­day.

By Sun­day af­ter­noon, Jan­tar Man­tar was choc-a-bloc with stu­dents, ac­tivists, pro­fes­sion­als and se­nior ci­ti­zens — a crowd much larger than Satur­day.

While some pro­test­ers held pub­lic dis­cus­sions on po­ten­tial so­lu­tions to deal with sex­ual ha­rass­ment cases, oth­ers pre­ferred to sit in small groups hold­ing plac­ards or ob­serv­ing can­dle­light vigil. A small group of pro­test­ers had also ob­served a day­long fast to mourn the vic­tim.

"We were fast­ing for the soul of that brave girl. We may con­tinue our fast to seek pun­ish­ment for the per­pe­tra­tors of this crime and go on till they are brought to book," said 32-yearold ac­tivist Yogita Chakravarty.

As calls for jus­tice grew louder, sev­eral women pro­test­ers who had gath­ered said that while a mas­sive shift in laws were re­quired, a vast be­havioural change needed to be brought about at the grass­roots level.

"When some­thing wrong hap­pens to us, we stay quiet fear­ing the con­se­quences. More of­ten than not our par­ents too, tell us not to re­act. This needs to stop be­cause the more we stay silent, the more le­nient we be­come with per­pe­tra­tors of such crimes. Yes, laws against sex­ual crimes need to be re­vised, but we must also change our mind­sets first," said Anisha Nayak, a stu­dent pro­tester.

While the 23-year-old gan­grape vic­tim's case has drawn flak from the en­tire na­tion, peo­ple also said that th­ese protests were an at­tempt to de­mand jus­tice for all girls who had been sex­u­ally ha­rassed.

"There are so many women we have for­got­ten about. All th­ese girls de­serve jus­tice im­me­di­ately. Fast track courts need to be set up wherein the rapists and molesters are sen­tenced as soon as pos­si­ble. The longer the cases re­main pend­ing, the longer it takes for jus­tice to be car­ried out," said San­jay Narayan Singh, a pro­tester.

While most routes lead­ing to the protest site re­main in­ac­ces­si­ble, pro­test­ers thronged Jan­tar Man­tar in large num­bers, crit­i­cis­ing the fortress-like sit­u­a­tion that had been cre­ated in the city.

"When 10 sta­tions are closed down, it is only more un­safe be­cause women and young girls are forced to walk lone stretches for kilo­me­ters to­gether to get pub­lic trans­port. Mak­ing In­dia Gate and other stretches in­ac­ces­si­ble just goes to show how much the po­lice fears the protests. If there is such in­tense fear, then ac­tion must be taken," said Ashish Sharma, a res­i­dent of Ro­hini.

When some­thing wrong hap­pens, we stay quiet for the fear of con­se­quences. This must stop.

ANISHA NAYAK, stu­dent Rather than turn­ing New Delhi into a fortress, the po­lice should safe­guard the ci­ti­zens.

ASHISH SHARMA, a res­i­dent of Ro­hini

RAJ K RAJ/ HT PHOTO

Pro­test­ers clashed with the po­lice, break­ing bar­ri­cades at Jan­tar Man­tar on Sun­day, de­mand­ing speedy pun­ish­ment to the ac­cused in Delhi gan­grape case.

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