Protests in 2017 that saw people take to the streets and fight for their rights

Online Desk | Published: 03rd January 2018 12:05 PM

India saw a lot of resistance in 2017 from the public who went against the government to make things go their way to the ones who chose violence to fight back. Here is the list of protests that made big headlines for many days. 

1) Pro-Jallikattu

Location: Tamil Nadu
What triggered the protest? The Supreme Court put a ban on the traditional bull-tamingsport 'Jallikattu' after years of complaints about animal cruelty by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The ban was not accepted by the people of Tamil Nadu. The protestors said the sport is central to their cultural identity.

Violence: The peaceful protest turned violent when police tried to evict the protestors. Around 2,00,000 people came out on the street near Chennai's Marina beach to show solidarity against
the ban.

Time period: Started on 8th January 2017 the protest ended peacefully by 24th January 2017.

Result: On 23rd January the Tamil Nadu Government legalisedJallikattu and passed a bill to amend the PCA (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act) 1960 Act.


2) Jat quota protests

Location: Haryana

What triggered the protests?

The false promise by the government to the jats. The Jats wanted reservation under the Other Backward Classes category. The Haryana state government had promised to increase the quota from 10-20% in state government services and educational institute. Government had also promised to rise the annual income from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh of the jats. The jats raised their voice for the first time in March 2008 and has been continuing since then due to delay in passing the bill. A fresh agitation started from January 2017. Dharna began in 19 districts of Haryana.

Violence: Clash occurred between security forces and protestors. Jats threatened to choke Capital Delhi.

Time Period: 29 January the dharna started in Haryana and the protest reached till Delhi by March. Dharnas stopped over Haryana by March 26.

Result: Agreement was made between the protesters and the government and the passing of the bill is still in process. The jats lifted dharna on March 26.

3) Gorkhaland agitation:

Location: Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik in West Bengal

What triggered the protest?
The demand for Gorkhaland dates back to 1980's but what lit the agitation in 2017 is interesting. The protest started when the West Bengal government on May 16 announced that Bengali should be made a compulsory subject in all schools across the state. This move was seen as an imposition of Bengali language by the people of Darjeeling where the majority of the people speak Nepali. Thus the people first started a protest for this move of the government and it later turned into a demand for the Gorkhaland.

Violence: Peaceful protest turned violent and huge security force was deployed in the hill district. The protesters called out for a complete bandh in the hill stations like Darjeeling. The strike lasted for 104days. Eleven people died in the protest. Strike affected the normalcy of the people.

Time Period: Started on May 16, on September 27 the GJM called off the strike.

Result: Darjeeling regained normalcy after September 19 when the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha met home minister Rajnath Singh. But their demands were not met. Bengali was not made a compulsory subject thereafter.

4)NEET 2017:

Location: Tamil Nadu

What triggered the protest?

S Anitha an aspirant medical student committed suicide as Supreme Court directed Tamil Nadu to follow NEET National Eligibility Entrance Test to get admission to medical courses. Anitha had scored 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in her class twelfth board exam. Anitha had filed a petition to the Supreme Court asking for exemption of NEET for the students of Tamil Nadu as most of the state students pass out from the Tamil Nadu board and not CBSE. The NEET is based on the syllabus set by the CBSE. This does not give the students of the state an advantage over other CBSE students. The centre agreed for the exemption for one year but it took a u-turn and made it mandatory for all the states.

Violence: Huge number of students protested across Tamil Nadu against NEET. 28 protestors were arrested but later released.
Time period: Anitha committed suicide on September 1. A series of protest was held throughout the state. Students were quiet after September 14.

Result: Centre asked the state to maintain law and order. The state government gave Rs. 7 lakhs as compensation for Anitha's kin, her younger brother was offered a state government job. Madras High Court also urged the government to build counseling centers for students who failed to clear NEET.

5)#NotInMyName:

Location: Ten Indian cities

What triggered the protest?

The killing of a young Muslim boy on a moving train triggered nationwide anger. Junaid Khan was stabbed to death in Haryana by a mob after an argument over train seat. The mob attacked Junaid and his brothers and mocked their religion calling Junaid a beef eater. The protest was organised in 10 cities across India. Participants came out on the streets with banners saying 'Not in my name' to show their resistance towards the violence and the government's silence.

Time period: 28th June 2017

Result: The protest was the idea of Saba Dewan, a filmmaker. The idea got the momentum and spread across the nation and participants organised a peaceful protest to question the attacks on the minorities of India and why the government was silent.

6) Tamil Nadu Farmers Protest:

Location: Tamil Nadu, Delhi and other parts of India

What triggered the protest?

The protest first erupted in 2016 when Karnataka refused to release Cauvery river water to the state of Tamil Nadu. Also, the inadequate rainfall in the state hit the farmlands that led to the failure of a good harvest. Unable to pay their loans, farmers committed suicide across the state. The protest started since then. The farmers demanded drought relief fund. After declaring the drought, the state government sought for Rs 40,000 crore from Centre in drought relief fund. But the center released only Rs 1,740 crore. The insufficient funds led to a huge protest in Tamil Nadu and later spread to New Delhi.

Violence: The farmers stripped in Delhi for their demands to be heard. They ate rat, wore skull necklace and also ate their own excreta.

Time period: The protest that started in 2016 intensified in the beginning of 2017 and it still continues.

Result: Talks were held between the centre and the state government but the farmers' demand was left unfulfilled.  The farmers met Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami they were given strong assurances by the Chief Minister over their demands, including waiver of farm loans.

7) Mandsaur farmers' protest:

Location: Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra 

What triggered the protest?

As 2016 came with less rainfall and demonetisation, the farmers were the worst hit. Farmers in Mandsaur protested  for the hike in the prices of the agricultural goods.

Violence: In a clash between the farmers and the police, six farmers were shot dead in Mandsaur. Curfew was imposed.
Time period: 1st June to 10th June

Result: The protest was silenced after talks between the government and the farmers. But no permanent solution came. 62 people were detained in connection with the protest.


8) Banaras Hindu University Protest:

Location: Banaras Hindu University, Uttar Pradesh.

What triggered the protest?

Three men harassed a BHU student inside the campus on 21st September 2017. The student raised an alarm, but the hostel warden questioned the person for walking outside so late. This angered the students and they sat on a dharna.Protest was held demanding the safety for students and against victim shaming.

Violence: Administration forced students to vacate hostels, water and electricity were cut off. Police lathicharged the protesters. Teargas shells and rubber pellets were used to disperse the protesters.

Time period: 22nd September to 26th September.

Result: To prevent further clash and violence, the administration advanced Durga Puja holidays by three days.

9) Padmavati protest:

Location: Mostly in Northern India and Karnataka

What triggered the protest?

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's movie 'Padmavati', based on Sufi poet Malik Muhammed Jayasi, was not  accepted by Rajput  organisations. They protested against the release of the movie, claiming that the magnum opus, based on the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji's Chittor invasion, distoted facts and it was an insult to their old history. The uproar was based on an alleged dream sequence between Khilji and Chittor queen Rani Padmavati or Padmini. They also opposed the 'Ghoomar' song, claiming that no Rajput queen would have danced in front of commoners, as shown in the film. BJP also supported the protest, as their governments in Madhya Pradesh,  Rjasthan and Gujarat declined to allow the film's release. Subsequently, it's release date has been postponed.

Violence: Rajput community and some of the former royals protested in many parts of India against the film. Also fringe outfits like Karni Sena put bounty on the heads of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone.

Time period: 3 November 2017 the protest against the movie intensified. The protest still continues.

Result: The CBFC recently cleared the movie after recommending some adjustments and cuts, apart from asking the producers to change the movie's name to 'Padmavat'.


10) Protest against the arrest of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim aka Panchkula violence:

Location: Haryana and Punjab

What triggered the protest?

On 26 August 2017, Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was produced in a special CBI court in Panchkula. Around two lakh followers of the guru stormed near the court to demand his release. The court declared him guilty of raping two women. The protest turned into riot after the participants started vandalising the media vans and torched vehicles in parts of Punjab and Haryana.

Violence: 41 people died and 250 were injured in the riot.

Result: Police arrested Priyanaka Taneja alias Honeypreet, adopted daughter of Gurmeet Ram Rahim. She was arrested in connection with the Panchkula violence.

Time period: 26 August 2017.

The 10 protest listed above are the major protest that shook the nation this year. There are other protests that took place in small incidents. There was the protest against the implementation of GST in various part of the country in 2017. It was also a year that witnessed protest by girl students of Kashmir. Girls in Kashmir pelted stones against the Indian army.

Tags : Dera Sacha Sauda Tamil Nadu farmers protest NEET 2017 Gorkhaland agitation Padmavati protest Pro-Jallikattu Jat quota protests Mandsaur farmers' protest Banaras Hindu University Protest

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