Millennium Post
Delhi

Massive turnout at Jantar Mantar

New Delhi: Nearly seven months after protests in the Capital against the CAA and NRC had to be suspended in light of the pandemic, Delhi saw a new wave — not of COVID-19 cases but of massive protests against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his government and the Hathras administration over how the gang-rape victim's body was dealt with, the alleged protection of authorities to the upper-caste accused men and what many have called a complete breakdown of law and order in the state.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came out swinging at the Jantar Mantar, demanding the strictest punishment for the accused and questioning the UP government over its delay in filing a rape case, the way the victim's body was cremated and the purported support of authorities to the accused. The CM said such issues of supreme importance and public interest cannot and should not

politicised.

As huge crowds assembled at Jantar Mantar throughout Friday evening, prominent, human rights activists, lawyers, politicians and civil society leaders made an appearance seeking the UP CM's resignation. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad showed up at the protest site, saying, "That girl was treated like a flower and they burnt her like garbage. This is not humanity, this is the murder of humanity. There is no point in keeping a government like this in power. And all this is not happening on the orders of DM and SSP, everything is happening on the command of the chief minister."

"What is happening in UP is goondaraj," lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan said. "The police have surrounded the village, are not allowing opposition leaders and mediapersons to enter it and have taken away the mobile phones of the family members of the victim."

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav said the Hathras incident "brings out the complete breakdown of anything called rule of law". "There is political patronage right from the beginning... The UP government has no basis to exist anymore," Yadav said.

When asked, CPI member and former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar said, "We are against all rape cases. We do not protect rapists on the basis of their caste and religion." Actor Swara Bhaskar said, "I don't think we've seen such criminal negligence by the administration anywhere in India."

A call for similar protest may take soon, a senior party leader said on account of anonymity. Among the protesters several AAP leaders like Saurabh Bhardwaj, Somnath Bharti, Atishi, Rajendra Pal Gautam, Dilip Pandey, Durgesh Pathak, Vinay Mishra were present.

The entry and exit gates of a few stations of Delhi Metro were also closed on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police registered a case against protestors who were demanding strict action against the Hathras gangrape accused. Those demanding a fair probe in Sushant Singh Rajput's case were also booked in the case.

Police said the gathering was in violation of NGT orders, Supreme Court order and Delhi Police standing order. "As the protestors have violated order under section 144 CrPC in force and other laws regarding Covid-19, a case under sections 188 IPC, 3 Epidemic Act, 51(b) Disaster Management Act, has been registered against the protestors at Parliament Street police station," officials said.

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