New Delhi, April 15 (PTI): Hundreds of people today participated in a protest march called “Not In My Name” at Parliament Street in the national capital against increasing incidents of rape and atrocities on Dalits and minorities.
Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan led the protest. The protest included artistes and students, who vented their anger over the incidents and claimed that Muslims in the country were living in fear. They said the rights of Dalits and Adivasis were being questioned.
The protest comes as two incidents of rape in Jammu and Kashmir and in Uttar Pradesh provoked outrage across India. Several similar protests have been organised over the past week to demand justice to the victims of the two cases.
The protestors demanded immediate dismissal of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly shielding his party legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar, accused of raping a 17-year-old girl who had gone to his residence seeking a job.
After the matter came to light when the victim tried to immolate herself outside Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow on April 8 alleging police inaction for nearly an year, criticism against the state government has mounted.
On April 9, her father died in judicial custody, with the autopsy report suggesting serious injuries on his body. The case has been handed over to the CBI and Sengar was yesterday sent into a seven-day custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The participants at the “Not In My Name” protest also sought immediate arrest of the two BJP ministers, who led rallies of Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua on March 1 in support of the accused in the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl.
The girl’s body was found a week after she disappeared from near home in January. The police has arrested a caretaker of a temple and alleged he was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, rape and killing of the girl from a nomadic tribe.
The police claimed the motive behind the crime was to terrify the nomadic community and drive it out of the village. In Delhi, the protesters sought adequate security arrangements for the families of the victims, and state support for arranging a competent prosecution team.
“Today we mourn the rape and murder of a little girl in Kathua. Her crime was that she belonged to the Bakarwal Muslim community that the Hindutva forces want out of the area.
“Her rape and murder are part of a larger narrative of communal violence with women’s bodies being used as a battle field,” said Saba.
Filmmaker Rahul Roy, who too participated in the protest, said: “As a country we have to hang our heads in shame for having failed the Constitution. We have to acknowledge that as a country we have failed our minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, women and girls.”