New Delhi: Opposition leaders, women’s organizations, student groups and hundreds of people gathered at the Jantar Mantar on Friday, demanding justice for the Hathras rape victim who succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday at Safdarjung Hospital.
CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat, CPI leader D. Raja, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad were among those who participated. Members of women’s organizations such as the All India Democratic Women’s Association and All India Progressive Women’s Association and student organizations such as SFI and AISA took part in large numbers. Jignesh Mevani, MLA from Gujarat, and Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar also took part.
The protesters condemned the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government for failing to take quick action on the matter, as well as for the attacks on those who demanded justice for the Dalit woman earlier.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded justice for the rape victim and said the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has no right to stay in power. Brinda Karat severely criticized the law and order situation in the State.
Addressing the protesters, Azad also demanded the resignation of Adityanath and said the rape and the subsequent cremation of the woman’s body amounted to “killing of humanity.” According to her family, the cremation took place while they were barricaded in their homes.
Azad called on all the sanitation workers in the country to strike work in the coming days, to press for immediate action. “The sanitation workers clean the garbage of the nation, but it is also necessary to clean the garbage that is in the minds of those who are running this nation,” he told Newsclick.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that what had happened to the woman’s family was not right and added that the government and the whole country should stand with them.
The Bhim Army had called for a protest at India Gate. However, earlier in the day, the Delhi Police took to Twitter declaring the imposition of curfew laws in the areas adjoining India Gate, following which the protests were shifted to Jantar Mantar. Protests over the past few days by women’s, student and youth organizations had been met with severe repression by the police.
Protests have also been taking place in other parts of the country. On Thursday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was manhandled by the UP police when he was on his way to Hathras. On Friday, several left leaders who were protesting the injustice were arrested in Lucknow.
The 19-year-old was raped on September 14 and faced a traumatic experience in the days leading to her death at the hands of the state’s medical system and police with her complaint not being taken seriously. In the aftermath of her death, reports have emerged of her family members being threatened by the Hathras District Magistrate.
On Friday, the UP government suspended the Superintendent of Police of Hathras and four other police officers.