By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi, Oct 2: Despite covid-19 pandemic fear, thousands of people thronged to Jantar Mantar here on Friday to join the Citizen’s Protest against the gang rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Hathras, demanding resignation of Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for allegedly protecting the perpetrators of crime. Leaders of different political parties also took part in the Protest saying the UP government has no right to stay in power alleging that the culprits are being shielded because they happen to be from the CM’s caste.
Leaders and activists described the Yogi government with “jungle raj , ghoonda raj, lawlessness” and asked him to step down in the wake of Hatras gangrape and brutal murder of 19- year girl Manisha on September 14.
Opposition leaders, including Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Dr S Q R Ilyas, Chandrashekhar Azad, and Brinda Karat, were seen at the protest, while activists such as Jignesh Mevani, Prashant Bhushan and Kanhaiya Kumar were among the demonstrators as well actor Swara Bhasker was present there, too. Protesters hold placards at Jantar Mantar to protest against the death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, in New Delhi.
Addressing the protesters, they all sought resignation of UP CM. Left leaders questioned the silence of the Modi government over the issue. “The silence of the central government and the top leadership of the BJP on such a heinous crime and the UP government’s response thereafter speak volumes about the authoritarian and anti-democratic ‘chehra’, ‘chaal’, ‘charitra’, and ‘chintan’ of the ruling party,” said Yechury as saying. “The Uttar Pradesh government has no right to stay in power. Our demand is that justice should be served,” he added.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal demanded that the culprits should be hanged till death so that such an incident is never repeated in the country.
Aam Aadmi Party’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, “Media and the BJP are repeatedly asking why the people are protesting against the Hathras rape case.”
He recalled that lakhs of people gathered at India Gate to demand justice for Nirbhaya, while there were many rape incidents even before Nirbhaya and even after Nirbhaya. The reason that the people have joined today in huge numbers is that in this rape case of Hathras because all the police and civil officers standing with the accused? No administrative officer stands with the victim’s family. Even today, the victim’s family has been locked inside their house, and they are not allowed to talk to the media. All the officers have been given directions that no politician should be allowed to meet the victim’s family as Yogi Adityanath is standing with the accused”
He also pointed out that Yogi Adityanath comes from the Thakur family and all the accused in the rape incident also belong to the Thakur family.
“CM Yogi is standing with Thakurs and so, no Thakur accused in Yogi Adityanath state can be punished. The only way to punish the accused in Uttar Pradesh is to remove Yogi Adityanath from the position of Chief Minister,” added Saurabh Bhardwaj.
While addressing the protesters Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar said. “People from different groups are here, this shows how enraged people are against what happened in Hathras, Balrampur, and Azamgargh…there is a rape epidemic which has spread in the country, especially the kind of news we are getting from Uttar Pradesh.
Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad joined the protest over Hathras case at Jantar Mantar on Friday. “I will visit Hathras. Our struggle will continue till the time UP CM doesn’t resign, & justice is served. I urge SC to take cognizance of the incident,” he said.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, accompanying Chandrashekar asked “Why the BJP government is not allowing the protest at India Gate in case of Hathras Dalit woman’s gangrape and murder”?
Activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the UP is witnessing “ghoonda raj”.
‘In Uttar Pradesh, there is ghoonda raj. The police have surrounded the village, are not allowing opposition leaders and media people to set foot in the village. They have taken away the mobile phones of the family members of the victim’ ,a and lawyer Prashant Bhushan said.
Welfare Party of India (WPI) president Dr. Ilyas said Yogi failed to rule the state and he must go. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Vice-president Engineer Mohammad Salim also took part in the demonstration. In his address, he said the role of the UP government did not bode well for the future of the democracy and the rule of law in the country. Even people are not allowed to meet the victim’s family.
Earlier in the day, ahead of the planned protests, Delhi Police had said that no gathering will be allowed around India Gate due to restrictions imposed under Section 144. Then it was shifted to Jantar Mantar. There are reports that Protest staged at many cities across the country in demanding the resignation of Yogi.
It is to be mentioned that the 19-year-old Dalit woman had been dragged away from the fields where she was cutting grass and brutally raped by four Thakur men in her village on September 14. She succumbed to her injuries at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital two weeks later on September 29. Even with media on the ground, police forced the cremation of the victim after midnight on Wednesday (September 30), by locking up the family.
Meanwhile, The Delhi Police on Friday registered a case against protestors, who had gathered at Jantar Mantar here against the alleged gang-rape and assault of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh”s Hathras district, for violation of prohibitory orders, officials said.