While Brigade Road was lit colourfully and was abuzz with preparations to usher in the New Year on Monday night, there was also a subdued group of protesters who gathered near the road junction with banners and posters in remembrance of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim of New Delhi who died after a battle for life and many such victims of sexual abuse.
Posters that read “Prepare and Prevent, Don’t repair and repent”, and “You raped her since her dress provoked you, I should break your face because your stupidity provoked me”, were on display at the candle-light protest organised by ITHI-ITEC (IT and ITeS Employees Centre).
Speaking to The Hindu , one of the protesters, Arun Ramachandran, a business analyst from an IT firm, said that they were holding the protest to voice their concern over such social issues. He added that they had been holding protests in various places in the city during the past one week. More than celebrating, this is a time for mourning the loss, he added.
While the protesters mainly consisted of IT employees, there were also others who had come to show their support to the cause. One of them was Yahodha who was alerted to the protest through Facebook and was in constant touch with the organisers to support them.
A large number of candles were lit near the Metro station on Brigade Road where a poster of Nirbhaya on her hospital bed was pinned. While the protests continued on the roads, some women returned home after having decided not to stay on the roads till midnight.
Ishani, a college student, who had come with her friends to Brigade Road, said that she still felt uncomfortable to stay out late. “There have been so many cases of sexual abuse that there is really no way to say that you are safe. Even though protests may be held, there is no action yet against the perpetrators,” she added.
Asked if they would be staying out to usher in the New Year, Kruthi too agreed with her friend Ishani and said that there was no way she was going to stay out late.