Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Demonstration held against State Crackdown on Bhagana Rape Survivors and other Protesting Villagers at Jantar Mantar

Condemned the police brutality against Bhagana Kand Sangharsh Samiti! 
Uphold the struggle for right to protest!

On 23 March four Dalit girls of Bhagana village in Hisar, Haryana were abducted and gang raped by five young men of the dominant caste - Jats - recently included in the Central list of Other Backward Classes or OBCs. Two days later, on 25 March the girls were found in an unconscious state at the railway station in Bathinda, Punjab. They were then taken back home by their respective families. After several attempts in Haryana at bringing the guilty to justice, where their voices were ignored by the state administration they were forced to move the struggle to the capital city. For more than a month they have been sitting on a dharna at Jantar Mantar under the banner of Bhagana Kand Sangharsh Samiti. This case of Dalit atrocity in Haryana has, however, failed to become national news in the sold out corporate media. 

They, along with other left and progressive groups and members of civil society, have all the right to protest against atrocities on Dalits and other marginal groups. However, that is not how the State wishes to see it.

After Delhi Police demolished tents at the dharna site
As if the trauma of abduction and gang rape was not enough, police brutality against the very rape survivors in the wee hours of the morning of 4 June added fuel to the fire. At about 5 am, 6-700 police personnel arrived at the dharna site at Jantar Mantar, forcefully evicted the protesters, uprooted their tents and took away their minimal belongings. The police informed protesters that they had orders ‘upar se’ (‘from above’) to vacate the dharna site immediately. When protesters refused, they were given time till 12 noon to vacate the place. Meanwhile, as this news spread amongst Left and progressive groups in the city, they began gathering at the dharna site and held a protest demonstration in front of the Parliament Street police station. The station in-charge, in a response that smacks of an arrogance so typical of police forces, attempted to get away with an explanation for the police brutality of that morning by saying that it was the NDMC that told the police to vacate Jantar Mantar so that they could clean the place! 

We all know that this is not the first time when the State machinery has attacked people’s right to protest and nor will it be the last. The need of the hour is to unite and gather against this in the coming days. Though, under pressure from the spontaneous demonstration against this action, while the police has assured the protesters that they would not remove anyone from the dharna site now, there is no reason to have any faith in this assurance. 

In this light, a planning meeting has been called tomorrow, 5 June at 6 PM at the dharna site at Jantar Mantar to chart out the plan of action for the future. 

Do join us in large numbers.

Below are few photographs of today's protest:


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