BENGALURU: There were silent protests organised across the city on Sunday, keeping in line with the pan-India protests against child rapes in Kathua and Unnao. The students, staff and families at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) held a silent meeting on Sunday evening in solidarity with the minors who were raped.
Residents of Koramangala, Siddhapura, Whitefield, Kammanahalli, Richard’s Park, Benson Town, and Cooke’s Town also joined in the protest against rapes in different parts of the city. Due to the impending assembly elections and the model code of conduct in place, sloganeering was not allowed. The residents resorted to silent protests, candlelight marches, placards and posters voicing their sentiments instead of shouting slogans against the government. Posters with statements like “Don’t you dare talk religion! There is no God in a temple where children are raped” and “Neither her God nor yours helped her in that temple!” were held up by the protesters.
Aditi Gupta, a third-year Biochemistry PhD student at IIsc advocated death penalty for rapists. “This is an extreme case. If the criminal is old enough to rape, he should be old enough to be penalised,” she said. Jayanthi Iyer, a resident at IISc, said, “A lot of young girls are present here. There is no point in shielding them from the blood and gore.” Nakshatra Iyer, a Class-10 student from Kensri school said, “We are seeing people who are very similar to us. This can happen to anybody anywhere, any day. We need to empower women to make the country safer for them.”
People gathered and sought to reiterate that rape is a hate crime and cannot be justified by religion. Malathi Raghavan, mother of Prof Srinivasan Raghavan from the Centre for Nanoscience and Engineering, held up posters in Tamil. She spoke about the importance of right upbringing. “Torturing a girl child is a sin. Since childhood, individuals need to be taught how to treat young boys and girls. The insensitivity you portray is a reflection of how you are brought up,” she said. The Sunday protests across Bengaluru were silent and non-political, and were part of #MystreetMyprotest campaign against the Kathua and Unnao rapes on minors.
The campaign call exhorted people of the city to stand on their closest street corners with placards or posters to voice their protest silently. At the IISc, the protest was organised by Students’ Council and IFF (IISc), as well as concerned citizens of the neighbourhood.