HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Rape protests fail to draw crowds on holiday

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 24, 2012
First Published: 02:38 IST(24/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:39 IST(24/12/2012)

While thousands of angry protesters poured on to the streets of Delhi on Sunday, Mumbai preferred to surround itself with holiday cheer with barely a hundred people gathering for a protest at Azad Maidan.


The protest was organised in support of the 23-year-old woman from Delhi who was gangraped in a moving private bus last week.

Kick-started by Divyanshu Asopa, 26, a resident of Kandivli on Facebook, the protest was to demand a special parliament session to consider death sentence for heinous crimes such as rape, fast-track courts for rape cases and police reforms.

Most protesters had gathered at Azad Maidan after Asopa and others appealed for a peaceful protest on Twitter and Facebook.  But the thin turnout disappointed Asopa and her friends as they had expected a turnout of at least 500 people. "It is definitely a poor turnout. We keep harping on the spirit and unity of Mumbai, but despite promising participation on Twitter and Facebook, only 100-odd people eventually turned up," said Asopa who runs 21 fools, a greeting card company.

"We are appealing for more policing on the street, setting up of fast-track courts and more proactive action from fellow Mumbaiites," added Asopa.

Protesters chanted slogans slamming the inaction of government against harassment of women and demanded quick justice for the rape victim who is battling for her life in Safdarjung hospital. The protest against the gang rape was first planned at Marine Drive, but after the police denied permissions, the venue was shifted to Azad Maidan

"Though the city has largely become safer in the last decade, we all are still subjected to lewd remarks and other forms of harassment," said Aditi Mittal, 26, a stand-up comedian.

Another protester, Malika Kapoor from Kandivli was also disappointed with the low turnout, "I am very disappointed with the turnout. I was optimistic that at least 200 people would come here. The situation in the city is worsening. I have been stalked and flashed several times," said the 26-year-old who works at a call centre.

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