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Delhi protests: 'Numbers may have thinned, but not spirits'

Last updated on: December 27, 2012 00:14 IST

Delhi protests: 'Numbers may have thinned, but not spirits'

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K Akhter in New Delhi

K Akhter reports from ground zero of the protests aimed at securing justice for the bus gang-rape victim and women's rights.

"The numbers may have gone down today, but not our spirits," declares Tamanna Khan, a Phd scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University, referring to the crowds demonstrating against the horrific gang-rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in New Delhi.

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The emotional outbursts and agitations demanding justice for the rape victim, which saw around 10,000 protesters at India Gate and near seats of power in Delhi on Sunday when clashes between police and  protesters claimed the life of a constable, appears to have receded on Wednesday.

But Jantar Mantar, the place earmarked for the protests against the ghastly crime that took place in a moving bus in the national capital, continued to witness varied methods of expression by outraged people through slogans, placards, speeches and paintings.

Srijan Artist Group, a Delhi-based organisation, has put up an exhibition of paintings to express solidarity with the protesters in their fight for the cause.

One such painting by Anand Deb, coordinator of the group, depicted atrocities against women and demanded justice for the rape victim.

The message under the painting presented the extent of outrage: "Rapist must be cut into pieces within seven days".

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Image: A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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'Desh ka yuva yahan hai, Congress ka yuva neta kahan hai?'

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There was another painting, made on the spot, that spoke of problems faced by women and demanded equal rights for them.

Chander Prakash, a member of Srijan, said, "Through our paintings we are also trying to convey that more than law and order, rape is a social problem and that cure has to start from home, when we start treating girls and boys equally".

There were others who vented themselves by sloganeering and angry speeches amidst a strong presence of police personnel.

One such slogan -- "Desh ka yuva yahan hai, Congress ka yuva neta kahan hai?" (Youth of the nation is here, but where is the youth leader of the Congress) -- questioned the absence and silence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the issue. 

However, this tone is a mellowed version after the death of police constable. 

Anandi Mukherjee, a Delhi University student, says: "The death of the police constable is very unfortunate. Every life is precious. Despite this unfortunate incident, our fight for justice for the gang-rape victim and rights of women will continue."

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Image: A demonstrator sits in front of a banner as he takes part in a protest in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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'This fight is not about giving protection to women, but for their natural rights'

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Meanwhile, Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association which has been part of the protests from day one, vowed to continue "fight till the government commits or quit". 

Krishnan informed that on Thursday, a joint protest march by various student organisations, NGOs and activist groups will be held from Nizamuddin Gol Gumbaz to India Gate.

Krishnan said that the protest will regain strength and momentum through the protest march, which she asserted "will remain peaceful".

Joining issue with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Krishnan demanded the removal of city's top cop Neeraj Kumar and an assurance from government "to fast-track 1 lakh pending rape cases across the country within 100 days and three bills on sexual assault, sexual harassment and honour crimes"

She asserted that "this fight is not about giving protection to women, but for their natural rights"


Image: emonstrators hold placards during a protest in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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