Students, youths, farmers, trade unionists, activists and masses across the country have been protesting against Delhi violence that has claimed lives of 34 people till Thursday evening. Many parts of the country including Punjab, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, etc. have seen protests and marches in solidarity with the victims of Delhi violence.
On Wednesday, hundreds of activists from 14 unions of farmers, farm labourers, youths and students held a protest at Bathinda in Punjab. The protesters said that Prime Minister Modi-led central government and Delhi Police were mute spectators to mobs attacking the minority community. The protesters even claimed that happenings in Delhi were no less than the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Apart from Bathinda, as per the call given by these organisations, symbolic effigies of the Union government were burnt at 46 places across 15 districts of the state. At some places, the protesters were seen carrying pictures of martyr Bhagat Singh. They said “Freedom fighters would never have dreamt that such senseless sectarian violence would take place in India and even religious places of a particular community would be targeted by vandals.”
During the protest, Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union state general secretary Lachhman Singh Sewewala termed the happenings in Delhi “very disturbing”. “Again, the same is being practised and members of minority community are being targeted. This will dent the secular image of India,” Sewewala said.
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Various groups continued their protests on Thursday as well. “We will never tolerate such attacks on minority communities. Our protests will continue on Thursday,” Buta Singh Burjgill of BKU (Ekta Dakaunda) said.
Kolkata streets also heard reverberating slogans against the polarising politics of the BJP. On Wednesday, Communist Party of India (Marxist) took out a protest rally in Kolkata appealing to the masses to come together to protect communal harmony across West Bengal.
The rally started from the Entally Market and concluded at Park Circus. Covering a distance of three kilometre, protesters including leaders Biman Bose, Sujon Chakraborty and Mohammad Salim voiced their dissent over the “attempts by the RSS and BJP to turn Delhi into a riot zone”.
Slogans like “People’s struggle will go on against the BJP’s politics of polarisation” and “Stop doing politics with religion” were raised by the protesters during the rally.
In Mumbai, about 100 protesters were detained from Veer Kotwal Garden on Wednesday evening when they were holding candle light vigil in solidarity with the victims of Delhi violence. Though the candle light vigil had been planned at Chaityabhoomi, the final resting place of Dr BR Ambedkar, they were forced to move to Veer Kotwal Garden after the intervention of police.
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Earlier in the day, more than 200 students, under the banner of ‘IIT Bombay for Justice’, took out a peace march in the campus protesting against the Delhi violence. The students and residents of campus demanded restoration of law and order in the national capital. The gathering was concluded with two minutes of silence in memory of the people who had lost their lives during the violence.
The students’ union of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) had also organised a protest gathering in the campus. “The students’ union is alarmed by the unprecedented rise of tension in Delhi and in particular the north-east regions,” said the statement by the TISS students’ union. They also urged the AAP-led Delhi government to take a firm stand against the communal hate and growing polarisation.
In Bengaluru, the police, however, denied the permission to ‘Bangalore Stands With Delhi’ to hold protests—citing “security concerns”, said one of the organisers. The protests had been scheduled for Wednesday evening at Sir Puttana Chetty Town Hall.
“The police had asked us to sign a bond as security to maintain peace during the protest. However, as we went forward, the police reached out to us earlier today (Wednesday) rejecting the permission. We have been asked to reschedule the protests to another day,” an organiser told The Indian Express.
Every other nook and corner of Kerala has also been witnessing protests condemning Delhi violence and polarisation agenda of BJP-RSS. Ruling Left Democratic Front and various youth and students’ organisations conducted protest marches, gatherings, etc. The opposition parties also staged protests.
Earlier, CM Pinarayi Vijayan had urged the Centre to take urgent steps to stop violence and restore normalcy in the national capital. In a tweet, Vijayan had said that the riots are the result of Sangh Parivar’s move to suppress anti-CAA agitations on the street.
“It is deeply worrying that neighborhoods in our national capital are burning. This is an outcome of Sangh Parivar's delusion that they can silence dissent with violence. Rampaging mobs and unabated hate speech indicate a serious situation. This must end. Sanity should prevail,” Vijayan tweeted.
It is deeply worrying that neighborhoods in our national capital are burning. This is an outcome of Sangh Parivar's delusion that they can silence dissent with violence. Rampaging mobs and unabated hate speech indicate a serious situation. This must end. Sanity should prevail.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) February 26, 2020
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