CHENNAI: Five charts with slogans and about half-a-dozen of people holding them. This is how a group of city residents registered their protest against what they considered saffronisation of the country.
Unlike most political protests in the city, where it takes biryani packets to attract the crowd, as only the numbers count, this set of people were a tad different. Even as their numbers were small, they were keen on picking up a debate on the strongest political issues in the country.
“We are here to fight for the rights of Indian citizens. We as a democratic country have the right to voice our opinions and hold protests. Not only that, we want to support JNU and stop the saffronisation of university campuses,” said Archana, an environmental activist. Some of the passersby near the Gandhi Statue in Marina Beach showed interest. Not many were willing to participate, but had their suggestions on how the protest could be taken forward.
One of the youth told the protesters, “This protest is for student’s rights. Please don’t bring in political parties’ names during the protest.” He was pointing to the reference to BJP in one of the charts.
Ashley Tellis, a professor and a participant in the protest, said, “There is a protest going on in New Delhi regarding the same issue of saving Indian democracy and we planned to do the same in Chennai.”
When a 70-year-old senior was asked what does he thought of the protest, he said, “I was born before independence. Today, the men with money are powerful. Shouting now will not bring a change in this country.”