Hundreds of activists take part in rally in Hassan to demand arrest of Prajwal Revanna and family members who might influence investigation

People from various groups marched carrying posters with slogans appealing to survivors to be strong and to not feel guilty; they also urged politicians not to play with the dignity of women for political gains

Updated - May 30, 2024 08:38 pm IST

Published - May 30, 2024 03:54 pm IST - Hassan

Leaders of various organisations and activists, including Dr. Bharathi Rajashekhar, R.P. Venkateshamurthy, H.K. Sandesh, Irshad Ahmed Desai, Rajashekhar and M.C. Dongre flagged off the march.

Leaders of various organisations and activists, including Dr. Bharathi Rajashekhar, R.P. Venkateshamurthy, H.K. Sandesh, Irshad Ahmed Desai, Rajashekhar and M.C. Dongre flagged off the march. | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

The former MP Subhashini Ali, who fought for justice in the Bilkis Bano case, demanded that the Karnataka government arrest Prajwal Revanna, accused of sexually abusing many women and currently facing investigation, as well as his family members who had a role in related crimes.

Addressing the protest rally in Hassan on Thursday, a day ahead of Mr. Prajwal Revanna’s return to India after remaining absconding for over a month abroad, Ms. Ali said, “If the family members of the accused are free, they will make use of their influence, power, and money to protect the accused.”

Hundreds of people from different parts of Karnataka take part in the Hassan Chalo protest march in the district on May 30, 2024.

Hundreds of people from different parts of Karnataka take part in the Hassan Chalo protest march in the district on May 30, 2024. | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

The rally was held after civil society groups from across the State, including those working for the cause of women, labourers, farmers, Dalits, and sexual minorities, marched with the slogan ‘Namma nadige Hassanada kadege’ (our march is towards Hassan).

Along the march, hundreds of activists raised slogans demanding the arrest of Prajwal Revanna, who has been facing charges of sexual abuse, as well as justice for survivors of the alleged sexual abuse. They carried posters with slogans appealing to survivors to be strong and to not feel guilty. Another poster appealed to politicians not to play with the dignity of women for their political gains.

With survivors

Ms. Ali said all the activists would stand with the survivors. “You need not feel ashamed. We are here to uphold women’s dignity,” she said. Ms. Ali said the State government should stand with the survivors, ensure their safety, and provide them relief.

Further, referring to BJP leaders’ statement that the last 10-year rule was only a trailer and the true picture would be in the next term, Ms. Ali said, “People already know what the trailer was in the Brij Bhushan case. And you came here to seek votes in favour of a rape accused. If these were the trailers, what would be the true picture?”

Samaj Parivartan Samudaya founder S.R. Hiremath called the protest “a historic” one to uphold the dignity of women. Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (Ambedkarwada) leader Mavalli Shankar appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to choose Hassan for mounavrata instead of Vivekananda rock at Kanyakumari “for failing to stop Prajwal Revanna”.

Women activists leading the Hassan Chalo protest march on May 30, 2024.

Women activists leading the Hassan Chalo protest march on May 30, 2024. | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

K. Neela, leader of Janavadi Sanghatane, alleged that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his party tried to take political mileage over the crimes committed by Mr. Prajwal Revanna. Advocate S. Balan urged the State government to grant compensation of ₹1 crore each to all survivors of the crime. “As [Congress leader] Rahul Gandhi stated that 400 women were raped, the State government should file 400 FIRs and conduct the investigation,” he said.

‘Stop circulation of clips’

Writer Roopa Hassan, who presided over the public meeting, urged the State government to stop the circulation of objectionable videos and arrest those involved in circulating them. She said the videos were still being released. “Why has the government not been able to stop it?” she sought to know.

Dharna

The protest meeting ended with a dharna. As none of the officials representing the district administration visited the meeting venue to receive the memorandum, the protesters staged a dharna on the road in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

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