Victims' families skip protest
Even as hundreds of students, professionals and volunteers from city-based non-government organisations (NGOs) took to the streets on Sunday evening to protest against the killing of Reuben Fernandes and Keenan Santos, the families of the two youngsters decided to stay away from the march.mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2011 01:56 IST
Even as hundreds of students, professionals and volunteers from city-based non-government organisations (NGOs) took to the streets on Sunday evening to protest against the killing of Reuben Fernandes and Keenan Santos, the families of the two youngsters decided to stay away from the march.
On October 20, Santos and Fernandes were knifed near Amboli Bar and Kitchen in Andheri (West) after they objected to a man allegedly harassing the women in their group.
The protest march was organised by NGO Yuva Satta, which is associated with Loksatta Party. Participants walked from Andheri station to Amboli, lit candles near the restaurant and took an oath to fight sexual harassment against women.
"We are carrying out a signature campaign and will submit our petition to home minister RR Patil demanding an amendment to section 354 and section 509 [relating to sexual harassment]," said Sagar Bekel, a Yuva Satta member. "The offence should be made non-bailable."
Bekel said they initiated a "zero-tolerance campaign" after receiving a suggestion from Abhijit Roy, a friend of the deceased duo.
However, family members of Fernandes and Santos said they did not support the protest. "They did not take our consent for the protest. Therefore we don't want to support it," said Benjamin, Fernandes' brother.
Nelson D, who runs a local community forum, sent text messages asking people not to participate in the protest.
Bekel said, "We had informed the families about the protest march. But they backed out of it at the last minute."
The NGO did not have police permission for the event. "They approached us at the last minute. But we decided to allow it because it was an emotional issue," said Pratap Digavkar, DCP, zone 9.
Those who participated in the protest said they were shocked by the incident. "I will fight for the cause they died for," said Fabik Khalid, a student.
Francis D'Souza who works for a radio channel said he would use the medium to support the cause. Volunteers from India Campaign Against Corruption were also part of the protest.