Thousands of people flooded Delhi’s streets on October 2 to show solidarity with the Hathras gang rape victim. Youth, women’s groups, activists and ordinary citizens came together to decry the heinous crime and the insensitive manner in which the Uttar Pradesh government handled the incident.
The past few weeks have been reminiscent of the pre-Covid-19 times when people protested the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of the BJP-led government in 2019.
This time, around 5,000 people gathered at the Jantar Mantar protest in Delhi that was originally planned to be held at India Gate. Despite the last-minute change in venue, people arrived at the spot to denounce the atrocity suffered by the 19-year-old Dalit girl in Hathras.
A video by a member of the If We Do Not Rise interviewed various people at the protest to show the varying demands of the protesters. While some people demanded stringent punishment for the accused, other participants voiced the rising caste-based crimes in Uttar Pradesh.
Student federations, women’s organisations and political leaders such as Chandrashekhar Azad, Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani, Yogendra Yadav, D. Raja and others participated in the protest.
हाथरस के वहशीपन पर मोदी जी खामोश क्यों हैं? जिस UP से वे दूसरी बार सदन मे पहुँचे हैं उसी UP में हाथरस भी है क्या PM यह नहीं जानते? हमारी बहन को कचरे की तरह जलाया गया इस पर चुप्पी क्यों ? हम आज शाम पांच बजे इन तमाम सवालों के जवाब लेने इंडिया गेट आ रहे हैं। #BharatAtIndiaGate pic.twitter.com/COqKh0DyCM
— Chandra Shekhar Aazad (@BhimArmyChief) October 2, 2020
Simultaneously, such demonstrations took place in and around various parts of Mumbai. 15-20 organisations including marginalised people assembled at the Ambedkar Garden in Chembur to demand justice for the victim’s family.
The assembled crowd lit candles, gave speeches against the UP government and the Central government and sang songs on women empowerment. The speeches also voiced a concern about the increasing fascism, growing violence and saffronisation of the police and judicial system.
The protesters in a statement said they had gone out on the streets despite the threat of the pandemic to decry the rising crimes against women, Dalits and other marginalised sections of society.
The statement appealed to people to unite against the ‘upper-caste’, patriarchal oppressive classes in society. They added that the next protest is scheduled for 4 PM on October 6 at Chaitanyabhoomi, Dadar.
Similarly, people in Mumbra, a suburban area of Mumbai that has been dubbed as a ‘Muslim ghetto’ by news reports, staged a protest to show their solidarity with the victim’s family.
Friday’s protests have been a part of a series of protests which started earlier this week around September 30 at Chaityabhoomi in Dadar. On Thursday, hundreds of people assembled at Carter Road in Bandra as well to condemn the Hathras case in Uttar Pradesh.
— Sharvari Londhe (@LondheSharvari) October 1, 2020
— Viral Bhayani (@viralbhayani77) October 1, 2020
Human rights activist and renowned journalist Teesta Setalvad attended the event and participated in the candle-march.
— Jaswant Hiralal Badsiwal (@jaswantspeaks) October 2, 2020
Today led an Candle light protest at #CarterRoad #Bandra in light of the #HathrasCase along with @TeestaSetalvad and which was also attended by @zeeshan_iyc
and many more.#DalitLivesMatters.#RIPManishaValmiki#HathrasHorror#hatraskibeti pic.twitter.com/YZx4v7aivl
— Furkan Shaikh (@Furkanrshaikh) October 1, 2020
Many youths attended the October 1 event although some expressed disappointment that the organisers had failed to acknowledge the caste-aspect of the Hathras case. One of the young protesters wrote a Twitter-thread in this regard.
So the Carter’s protest update, I’m sorry I couldn’t come online cuz it was a total shit show and I’d to speak up even tho I was not ready to.
— ffs ?? (@adhirayy) October 1, 2020
When another protester, Sarasvati NT, was asked about the ongoing protests in the country for the UP case she said, “This is the moment to come out and actually talk about caste crimes. People are finally answering questions such as ‘Why does caste matter in such cases?’ Yet, whenever the caste-aspect comes in, people are very reluctant to voice their support.”
She argued that people must continue talking about caste-issues and express their support for Dalit activists who are also arrested under UAPA.
Student organisations and youths also attended a similar event at IIT Powai.
Protest in Powai …Mumbaikars Raising Their Voice Against The Injustice in Hathras #HathrasCase #HathrasHorrorShocksIndia #manisha_valmiki #DalitLivesMatter #powai #mumbai #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/ezSBxhCXPz
— Anand N. Ingle (@anand_ingle89) October 2, 2020
Protest in Powai …Mumbaikars Raising Their Voice Against The Injustice in Hathras #HathrasCase #HathrasHorrorShocksIndia #HathrasVictim #HathrasHorror #Hathras #hatrashorror #Mumbai pic.twitter.com/qEIEnFOlsD
— Anand N. Ingle (@anand_ingle89) October 2, 2020