BENGALURU: Angered citizens took to the street to organise protests against the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. They say this is only a start, and that they will keep a close watch on the proceedings of the case in Kathua. If need be, more of such protests will be demonstrated. The #MyStreetMyProtest was taken up by several cities across the country. Bengaluru saw an overwhelming response, where the strength of the dispersed collective was noticed in every pocket — spanning from Whitefield to Koramangala to Corporation Circle to Sarjapura.
This citizen-centric protest was spearheaded by almost 50 organisers where citizens took initiatives themselves to organise and spread the word about the protest in their own neighbourhood. Organised with the help of social media, citizens coordinated and stepped out on the streets with their own placards and posters. “We are also raising funds for the court cases. One will have to wait and see what is needed at the next level right now,” adds Arundhati Ghosh, executive director at the IFA. She organised the protest at Cooke town. She says the response to the protest gained momentum in only two days time.
Aman Deep Sandhu, who works as a freelance writer, organised the protest in his neighbourhood in JP Nagar. “I don’t know of any place that has conducted such a protest. There are no norms of guidelines to do it. Aren’t we free to stand on the streets and protest peacefully? I consulted a lawyer on whether it is possible to do it.
He said that it has never been done before, but there is no need to go to the police. Just go ahead with it and see how it takes course. However, there are certain guidelines we have kept in mind to ensure it is peaceful and does not disrupt traffic. I think this is an empowering act and is important in a democracy,” adds Aman Deep.
A volunteer from Sarjapur, Varuni Bhatia, a teacher at Azim Premji University, says she was surprised to see the response from areas that are otherwise a-political.Arundhati says, “Because it was a eighbourhood, there were many families, including children and senior citizens. A lot of people who were passing by even joined us. There were bus drivers and auto drivers who came and joined. A lot of Muslim families also came out to demand for justice.”