Permanent protesters mull moving SC to reclaim their spot
NEW DELHI: Two days after the order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop all protests at Jantar Mantar, permanent protesters have decided to move the Supreme Court to urge a reconsideration of the order.
Jantar Mantar, the resistance square of India, has different kinds of permanent protesters: Army veterans demanding 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP), farmers from Tamil Nadu clad in green demanding loan waiver, followers of godmen, and even a woman whose demand is to get married to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
These people may have a variety of demands, but they share a bond of togetherness with Jantar Mantar. They also said that they will not leave the place and shift to Ramlila Maidan.
"We don't want to leave this place. The permanent protesters want to move the Supreme Court and urge reconsideration of this order," said a 75-year old Army veteran, adding that the permanent protesters will discuss the matter within themselves and take a final decision.
"We do not come here for pleasure but to agitate near the Parliament house, so that our voice is heard. If we move, nobody will listen to us," he said.
"Ramlila Maidan does not even have a tree. Here, at least we get some shade and there is a Gurudwara nearby to get food. It's not that we are treated very well here. Officials from the corporation regularly take our blankets and other things away," said Rakesh Kumar, a protester from Madhya Pradesh.
Kumar urged the government and other agencies to reconsider the matter.
Meanwhile, farmers from Karnataka – another group of regular protesters – contended that they never use microphones or loudspeakers, and so would not leave this place.
Reiterating the demands of the protesters, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the NGT should reconsider its decision to shift Delhi's designated protest site from Jantar Mantar to Ramlila Maidan.
Senior party leader Dilip Pandey said Jantar Mantar is synonymous with the country's democracy, the voice of people's protest against the seat of the government demanding answers for their actions. "The futile reason behind shifting the protest site from Jantar Mantar is noise pollution. This must be reconsidered by the NGT. Jantar Mantar has historical significance and it needs to be protected," he said.
The NGT on Thursday ordered the Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Police to stop all protests, public gatherings and use of loudspeakers at Jantar Mantar.
However, a timeline and modalities of how the order will be implemented are yet to be fixed.