By Zafar Abbas
New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) For the past few months India had become used to webinars and other virtual gatherings on social media either to register a protest or push a campaign because of Covid-19. However, the Hathras tragedy has once again brought people out on the streets protesting and raising questions on the security of women in the country with a number of rapes and gang rape incidents reported across the country in quick succession.
Delhi Police sensed the possible outrage early and were quick to impose section 144 at India Gate on Gandhi Jayanti and send out the message to restrict the gathering at Jantar Mantar not more than hundred citing a DDMA order.
However, by evening, thousands of protesters gathered at Jantar Mantar with placards and posters demanding justice for the Hathras gang rape victim who died in a Delhi hospital.
Scores of people including politicians, actors and activists were seen giving speeches and interacting with the media in the national Capital as tempers rose over the Hathras incident.
Back in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, the media felt offended when their entry into the victim’s village was barricaded and journalists were stopped at a distance.
The victim’s family was also not allowed to interact with mediapersons either. Visuals of mediapersons trying to sneak into the village and the confrontation with UP police went viral on social media.
After public gatherings were prohibited because of the on spread of pandemic, the Hathras incident is the first one to bring the protesters on the streets, in a departure from web seminars and online campaigns. Neither the fear of contracting the virus nor being booked for violation of sec 144 could stop the people from coming together.
By evening hashtags such as Dalit Lives matter, Women Lives matter, Hathras and Jantar Mantar started trending on Twitter, the only difference, this time it was the physical presence on roads and not just virtual presence on mobiles and laptops.
(Zafar Abbas could be reached at [email protected])