Peaceful protests against death of gang-rape victim
New Delhi: A series of peaceful marches and protests were today held in the capital, including one at Jantar Mantar, to mourn the death of the 23-year-old gangrape victim even as India Gate and Raisina Hill were kept out of bounds for people.
Policemen were deployed in strength in and around India Gate and Raisina Hill as well as other parts of the capital to ensure that the protests remain peaceful besides shutting down of Delhi Metro stations near the war memorial.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit requested Home Minister SushilKumar Shinde to lift restrictions on holding peaceful demonstration in memory of the victim in and around India Gate.
In one of the protests, JNU students marched from their campus to Munirka bus stop from where the girl boarded the bus in which she was gangraped and brutally assaulted on December 16 allegedly by six men.
The students announced that they will hold a night vigil at the same spot on New Year Eve demanding strong laws to punish sexual offenders.
Activists of Left parties staged a peace march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat.
She said there was a need for fixing accountability. "Unless we do this, such incidents will repeat," she said.
Asked about sexist comments by politicians, she said it shows the mindset of people and that "action should be taken against them in Parliament".
At Jantar Mantar, a number of people sat on a silent protest. However, later there were sloganeering and demands for immediate punishment of the culprits.
The mourners also protested against the security lock down of India Gate and Raisina Hill where violent demonstrations were witnessed last weekend over the rape.
People started gathering at Jantar Mantar here at around
10 AM and sat in silence.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas also joined the protest along with some of their supporters with their mouth tied with black cloth.
Kejriwal tweeted, "her death is a matter of shame and sorrow for all of us. Let's resolve that we will not let her death go in vain.
"Aren't we all responsible for her death? Can we all now do something so that half of humanity starts feeling safe amongst us?" he said.
"The government is not even allowing mourning of the death. This is insensitivity. There is complete lock down. You have the metro stations shut. You have a road completely blocked. This is undemocratic," a protester Sunil said.
Sisodia said the government was muzzling the voice of people by shutting Metro and closing down India Gate.
In a statement, AAP said the girl, who became the symbol of women’s insecurity and their courage, is no more.
"This is a moment of national grief. This is also a moment of national shame. We, as a nation, have failed to provide conditions in which women can lead a normal life without being subjected to indignities. We, as a society, have failed to evolve a culture of respect and equality for women.
"This event and the subsequent developments have no doubt generated widespread outrage and justified anger. But today we must convert this into a positive resolve. Let us all resolve that we shall convert this moment into a movement to end all forms of violence against women. Let No Violence Against Women be our national new year's resolution," it said.
In tweets, activist Kiran Bedi said, "today is a day of reflection and personal audit on the way we as parents and teachers are grooming boys in this country.
"Today is day of mourning on lives we have lost because of failure of our criminal justice system and resolve to not fail it in future. Today is a day to also reflect the way we project our women in media," she said.
Protesters at Jantar Mantar took out a candle light march to Parliament Street in the evening.
Delhi Ministers AK Walia, Ramakant Goswami, Arvinder Singh Lovely, Kiran Walia and Raj Kumar Chauhan and Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit participated in candlelight marches and condolence meetings in various parts of the city to pay homage to the gang-rape victim.
They also appealed to people to maintain peace and calm, and help authorities in making Delhi a safer place especially for women.
The participants observed a two-minute silence in memory of the departed soul and organised peace walks. They also took oath to protect all women in distress.
Meanwhile, former Army Chief Gen VK Singh joined the candle light march at Jantar Mantar. Singh has been participating in the protests against the Delhi gang-rape.