Protests against the gang-rape of the 23-year-old woman here continued for the third day of the New Year at Jantar Mantar. Observing a “black day,” protesters demanded speedy justice to the victim and accused the authorities of dragging their feet over the issue.
Some protesters were detained on Thursday evening by the police.
Despite the severe cold, a modest crowd, mainly students, turned up at the protest site amid heavy police presence. Their focus remained on Rajesh Gangwar and Babu Singh, who have been on hunger strike for several days, resolving to continue their fast till the gang rape victim gets justice.
Holding a placard that said “We protest against not just one crime but a mentality,” Indraprastha University student Sima Malhotra argued: “Even though people have expressed their outrage at the brutal rape and assault of the student, we need to talk about every incident of sexual assault happening in the country. Why do we forget thousands of rapes committed by our security forces in the conflict zones like Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and North-east? It would be really an insult to the memory of the gang-rape victim if we discriminate one rape from other just because it raises disturbing questions.”
Demanding “immediate hanging” of the six accused in the case, Gangwar, a resident of Bareilly, who is on the 11 day of his fast, said: “The fact that week after week people turn up at Jantar Mantar to protest against the brutality that occurred on December 16 and every rape which happens in this country, inspires me to continue my fast. What gives me hope is the fact that youngsters have woken up to the cause of violence against women.”
Babu Singh is for not just death penalty, but a public hanging of the accused. “What was done with the 23-year-old medical student can be categorised as ‘rarest of the rare’ case deserving extreme punishment to the culprits. They should be punished in full public view because it will send a message that it won’t be tolerated at any cost,” said Mr. Singh amid several protesters who do not agree with the demand for death penalty.
Mr. Singh, a resident of Farrukhabad who is on the sixth day of fast, said: “Our situation slightly deteriorated yesterday [on Wednesday] after which doctors from Lohia Hospital came and took our blood samples to check the sugar levels. But we are normal now.”