New Delhi: On the eve of 62nd Independence Day when President of India was preparing to congratulate the nation, a group of students, teachers and civil and human rights activists from across the National Capital gathered near the Delhi Police Headquarters in the heart of the city to protest violations of right to life – the growing culture of encounter killings – reminding the powers that be that all is not well with the country, particularly its minorities and the downtrodden –frequent target of these encounters.
Sporting red headbands encripted with ‘No to Encounters’ the protesters – mostly students and faculties of Jamia Millia Islamia, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University – were shouting anti-police and anti-government slogans: Dilli Police Murdabad, UPA Down Down, Fasiwad ho Barbad, State Terrorism Down Down.
They were protesting against the recent encounters – Sohrabuddin (Gujarat), Batla House (Delhi), Dehrdun (Uttarakhand) and Imphal (Manipur) – and demanding checks on the police and security forces.
Encounters are simply violations of the right to life, said Jamia Millia Islamia teacher Tanveer Fazal of Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA). To counter growing culture of state terrorism, there is a need to grow the culture of resistance, Tanveer said.
“We are not fighting for a particualr community. We are fighting for the safety and security of all citizens of the country,” said Prof Akhtarul Wasey of Jamia Millia. He called upon the government not to ignore the rising unrest among the youths against the fake encounters in the country. He also lambasted the NHRC fro toeing the police line in the Batla House encounter case, and not meeting the criteria of a fair probe.
Manisha Sethi, JTSA leader, vowed to continue the protest against the encounters particularly the Batla House encounter until the government gives in and orders a judical probe. Not disheartened with the thin presence in almost all demonstrations she organized on Batla House encounter, Manisha is confident that “like Vinayak Sen for whose release we continued protesting for two and half years until we got success, we will continue our movement till we get justice in the Batla House encounter case.”
People from Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Manipur (CPDM), All India Students’ Association (AISA), ANHAD and other groups also spoke on the occasion. At the end of the protest a coffin of state terrorism was burnt.
By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net, 15 Aug 2009