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Nearly a month later, protests continue at Jantar Mantar

Sunday January 13, 2013 05:42:10 PM, IANS

New Delhi: It is nearly a month since the gruesome gang-rape in the capital which shook the entire nation, but protests at Jantar Mantar here for stringent laws for women's safety refuse to peter out.

"It is the anger in us which we want to convey to the government. We will keep coming here until there is change in the system," said Suman, one of the fiery 14 youths who claim to have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital since Dec 22, 2012.

Suman recounts that it was the lathicharge and use of water canons by police Dec 22 which united these 14 youngsters from different parts of the capital.

"We did not know each other. It was police violence that brought us here. We coordinate with each other before coming to Jantar Mantar now," said Vikram Singh, a student.

Despondency is writ large on their faces, though they continue their protest.

"We sort of know that that our voices might not be heard at the top, but we want to continue till the end," said Suman, a choreographer.

She laments the dissipating anger among the crowds. She said that until Jan 1, the anger was palpable.

"Most of the the NGOs come here in the morning and leave by 7-8 p.m. We have withstood biting cold and protested. Now, we know who a genuine protestor is, and who not," says Vikram.

Although fasting protestor Babu Singh broke his fast Saturday, he claimed that he would not leave the historic Jantar Mantar until the government brought in laws to protect women.

"I called off my hunger strike yesterday (Saturday). I had been receiving phone calls regularly from Arvindji (Kejriwal, social activist and politician) as he was very concerned about my failing health," Singh said, after a fast that lasted nearly 20 days.

"Finally, Arvindji visited me at Jantar Mantar yesterday and urged me to end my fast and carry on with my agitation. He said that I should help in strengthening the movement," he added.

Several women protestors from various non-government organisations were also present at Jantar Mantar, shouting slogans demanding justice for the 23-year-old woman who died of injuries after being brutally gang-raped in a moving bus Dec 16.




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