I WITNESS – The good people of DELHI
by Sangeeta Das on Monday, 24 December 2012 at 13:13 ·

I am appalled at the lop-sided relay of events and incomplete images being telecast by some of the NEWS channels on TV, regarding the incident that happened at India Gate yesterday at around 5:30 PM.

 

I was there. We were all on the other side of India Gate towards the Dhyan Chand Stadium.

 

I think I need to paint the correct picture for the nation. Except for CNN IBN and NEWS X, most other channels are not showing the peaceful gathering. Thus it gives out the wrong message to the nation, to the politicians, to other women that there was violence by the women on our side.

 

Please pass on this note to as many people as you can and post it at as many places.

 

THERE WAS NO VIOLENCE NO PROVOCATION…THE POLICE ATTACKED WITHOUT ANY WARNING. I have been through section 144 earlier. At least there should have been one warning issued to us to get up and leave, peacefully, before they started hitting us.

 

Ms.Naina Kapur, of VISHKHA GUIDELINES fame, was there with me. Ms.Smita Bharti of SAAKSHI, an NGO working on SEXUAL HARASSMENT on women, was there. Ms.Nafisa Ali was standing behind us, Mr.Arvind Kejriwal was sitting just two rows in front of me, Mr.Arvind Gaur of ASMITA THEATER GROUP was there asking all the people to sit down and listen to the talks.

 

There were about 200-250 girls and equal or more number of men of all ages. There were young girls, some children, families and some elderly people along with hoards of photographers, journalists and reporters.

 

WE WERE ALL SITTING ON THE ROAD PEACEFULLY and listening to the painful account, of the mother of ‘KIRAN NEGI’, a 3 yr old who has been brutally raped and disfigured and killed, by her attackers. Even the sloganeering had stopped.

 

Many young and old men of Delhi were standing around us in a 3-4 layer human chain to protect us from any hooligans or nasty elements. It was like a CHAKRAVYUH.

 

Members of the ASMITA THEATER GROUP, including Mr.Gaur, were constantly walking around the circle. Young boys and girls of his team were repeatedly requesting and talking to people to not resort to violence, not to panic or run or throw stones, not to damage public property, AND not to hurt or abuse the female protestors.

 

There were many volunteers distributing biscuits and water to every protestor.

 

We were talking to the ‘AAM JANATA’ of Delhi on how to tackle the violence on women and children starting from ourselves, our homes and communities.

 

WE WERE SIMPLY TALKING.

 

I had just finished my packet of biscuit when the police, hundreds of them from DELHI POLICE and RAF, charged at us from behind, WITHOUT ANY WARNING.

 

They first attacked the men from behind, breaking their CHAKRAVYUH. I stood up to see what the commotion was about, and immediately fell as most girls didn’t get enough time to stand up. I hugged Smitaji as we fell on each other and there was a stampede over us.

 

Some of the men from the circle ran for their lives, but most of them ran towards us and hugged us and fell on us and took the initial blows of the LATHI CHARGE.

 

I couldn’t see anything; I just heard the two cracks of a SPLIT BAMBOO STICK on my back, butt and thighs. Then I heard the police screaming, HARAMZADIYON, RANDIYON, and then I saw a boot kicking my knees and shin.

 

They hit Smitaji on her lower-back and spine. The boys of ASMITA, and some more men pulled us all up and all of them formed protection girdles around the girls to push us out of the range of the water cannons and charging men in KHAKI AND BLUE.

 

Visibility was poor due to fog and tear gas; many girls were hit; even when we were running away and saying, “Ham jaa rahen hain, hame mat mariye”,…. they were hitting the boys rampantly, constantly spitting abuses on the girls. Many women reporters were also hit and chased, their vans attacked, equipments broken. Some girls still managed to pull a few lathis and gave it back to the men. I don’t know what happened to the children in the group and how the aunties in saris managed to run. I just hope they are all well.

 

There was not a single ambulance in sight; the entire C- Hexagon of India Gate was empty, barring the police. We walked for almost 45 min, as there was no way out from the outer circle. Finally we managed to duck behind press vans and escaped via Shahjahan Road.

 

Do I look like a hooligan? Was I armed? Was I provoking the police or creating a nuisance? Was I resorting to violence, by sitting there and listening to, or sharing our personal grievances of Sexual harassment and assault? You judge for yourself.

 

 

Agreed, that in such gatherings, some nasty elements do infiltrate and create a raucous, but the police didn’t seem to have the basic sensibility to differentiate between hooligans and some young girls, children, and elderly people.

 

If the Delhi Police and RAF lack the basic cognizance to recognize the good from bad, what protection can we expect from them? Instead I thank the men of Delhi, the boys of Delhi, who helped all the girls to escape from the wrath of THE POLICE. 

 

I request the people who were present there, to paint the correct picture, so that Mr.Manmohan Singh, Mr.Shinde and others would get the correct picture of what happened on the ground.

 

I request the PM and the Home Minister to believe that “I, the woman of India,” am not violent or the ‘Shame of the nation’… that we have to be ashamed that the world is watching. I was not offensive. But I will definitely stand up again to defend myself, my mother, my daughter and my kind. Let the world watch.

 

P.S. — In this melee I forgot to thank the lanky young boy in a black kurta and glasses, who escorted us out and took several blows on his back. It was so bad, that he was bent with pain. He was there with me from the first blow on me…all the while he was screaming, “Didi ko mat mariye, Aunty ko mat mariye, Ladies ko mat mariye”… Where-ever you are…beta, hope you are fine. Thanks a lot for helping us.

 

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  1. Dr M Chandrashekhar

    Pathetic display of strength by the brutes of DP on peaceful protesters. They are morally & mentally so corrupt that given half a chance their brutality surfaces.

    Equally pathetic TV address by our PM.

  2. What i saw on TV was people hitting police men and upturning a maruti SX4 car! They even broke the barricade setup by police.

    This protest was pathetic. What I saw was not single sad face – but smirks on most protestors! Many were just enjoying the protest – it seemed a picnic for them!

    The same thing was happening with Anna Hassare protest here in the southern part of Kerala.

    Sorry but this is what I saw on youtube and TV.

    A mob is hard to control! So it is better not to have a mob! Mass protest is a thing of past!

  3. BTW, I am not in favor of the people who did this heinous act. Let the judicial system handle it – why put pressure to hang the person?

    Makes me remember episodes from history – Rama offering his wife to fire because of public opinion and Christ crucified due to public opinion.

    Public opinion should not be the law or judgement! If that is going to be the case, then we live in prehistoric barbaric world!

  4. Hi…..

    If you remember just months ago, there was a peaceful march by Muslims in Azad Maidan which went out in the wrong way and media started blaming protesters (indirectly Muslims), I was there in among the protester, it was a peaceful protest whereby a class of people (don’t know where they came from started doing the drama, burning, violent etc). Media displayed a wrong picture but who cares…hahaha.

    One of my friend went miles ahead, she posted on facebook as “Muslims are gone mad, they are burning buses, vehicles. Run for your life”. She later revoked here comments…..Sick people sick media

  5. PM in end of his speech told “theek hai” what else you want everything is fine here.
    When the PM of the country is least bothered and for him its just a dramatised speech what do you expect from police,criminals and politicians?

  6. I think our minds are still set in feudal thoughts.Ofcourse the gangrape was a heinous act.But why should the PM resign(many ppl have been demanding this).I think I missed the part where Manmohan Singh is the accused.
    Police reforms are necessary but they wont stop this.If more policing is the solution,you would need to put a policeman in every street,in every private bus,in every home.
    Changing our popular culture would be a good place to start.But I don’t think any good can happen in this country considering we still haven’t abolished the caste system.

  7. What a bloody shame.
    Perhaps it is time for every woman to be ready for self defence, because the police has its own agenda and lumpens.
    Mace/ knife/ gun to each her own.
    What a cesspit. What a bloody shame.

  8. This kind of reality was nicely portrayed in ‘Rang De Basanti’ movie. The authorities have no value for human life, natural resources, etc.: government sectors, media, police, lawyers, politicians, corporates: all just work for money. The only thing needed is ‘honesty’ and ‘respect’. But, where is the willingness to have these!

  9. In my opinion Ms Shiela Dixit could have handled the peaceful protest with more senstivity. I totally agree with NKanani’s viewpoint.

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