New Delhi, Dec 31: Protests against violence on women continued in the national capital Monday, a day after the city’s gang-rape victim was cremated under heavy security.
A large number of people, mainly the young, gathered near Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi, pressing the government to enact a strict legislation against rape and other crimes. The crowd included activists, students and professionals.
The area was covered with posters and hundreds in the crowd formed groups, chanting slogans, demanding action against crimes such as rape. While a majority called for social change and rebellion, some groups also chanted anti-government and anti-police slogans.
Hundreds of candles were lit beside a dummy representing the victim. Arya Samaj members performed a “havan” – prayer by fire – for peace for the departed soul. Some groups called for Jan 3 as “protest day”.
As the protests went on, candle sellers, snack kiosks and tea vendors did brisk business.
“It is sad she had to pay the price of being a woman, but these protests will not die and she will get justice,” said Jyoti, a banker who joined the protest with her friends.
In the crowd were two six-year-olds with a poster that said: “Say no to New Year 2013″. Twins Jaya and Khushi had come with their grandfather, though they are too young to understand how gruesome and what the crime was.
Asked why they were there, Khushi said: “We are here because she was killed by the goons.”
At a short distance from the girls — laughing and playing during the agitation — members of All India Student’s Association (AISA), a leftist group, sang songs of rebellion against the system.
“We will not let this protest die. This is the limit beyond which atrocities cannot be tolerated,” said Om, a member of AISA.
The group had earlier planned a demonstration at Connaught Place, the central business district and popular market, but were stopped by police.
All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) demanded fast-track courts and speedy justice for rape victims.
“Demanding the death sentence will not solve anything. Laws are there but they need to be implemented,” said Subhashini Ali, president of AIDWA and former member of parliament.
“Eighty thousand rape cases are pending. The accused in many of these are IAS and IPS officers, political people. When will government act? The need is not for a new law. Laws are already there. The problem is implementation. One or two fast-track courts will not help. Hundreds of such courts are needed all over the country,” Ali said.
Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University will march to the bus stand in Munirka Monday night from where the woman was abducted and later raped.
Delhi Police have announced a ban on traffic in and around Connaught Place from 7 p.m. Monday on the New Year’s eve.
Three Delhi Metro stations — Rajiv Chowk, Barakhamba Road and Patel Chowk — were closed at 7.30 p.m. Monday.
Commuters would not be allowed to enter or leave the three stations from that time on due to security restrictions related to New Year celebrations, a Metro official said.
The 23-year-old woman who was gang-raped Dec 16 in a moving bus here was cremated Sunday morning after her body was flown in from Singapore.