The city saw a slew of protests on Monday against brutal police action on women wrestlers protesting in the heart of New Delhi.
Students were at the forefront of the rallies. More protests are lined up, organisers said.
Members of a string of organisations assembled at Esplanade on Monday afternoon. Armed with placards and posters, they shouted slogans against an “authoritarian regime that had scant regard for women”.
“On one hand, the government gives the slogan ‘beti bachao’. On the other, it unleashes police brutality on betis who have won laurels for the country. This is the new order in India,” said a member of the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation, one of the protestors.
Another participant called out the irony of Delhi police roughing up the wrestlers barely 1.5km from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a new Parliament building.
“Modi gave a lofty speech on how the new temple of democracy would herald a new dawn for India. Around the same time, his police were showing what the new dawn meant. It meant pinning international athletes to the ground before dragging them away in police vans,” she said.
The Students’ Federation of India organised a human chain on College Street earlier in the afternoon.
Members of the All India Students Association organised an agitation at Jadavpur University.
Slogans demanding the resignation and arrest of the wrestling federation chief, BJP parliamentarian Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, rang in the evening air.
Bengal against Fascist RSS-BJP, a forum that started the No Vote to BJP campaign, issued a statement.
“If celebrated wrestlers have to suffer this brutality, what can the ordinary Indian woman expect? Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik was the brand ambassador of the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign. On Sunday, the country saw police pinning her to the ground. Vineshand Sangeeta Phogat were literally dragged by the cops. All this was apparently done to protect the image of India on the day of the inauguration of the Parliament. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh was present in that Parliament. This is new India,” said the statement.