Protesters evicted from Delhi’s Jantar Mantar after NGT ban, to ‘continue fight’
The evicted protesters say the alternative site at Ramlila Ground is not acceptable to them, as the municipal authorities charge Rs 50,000 per day.Updated: Oct 31, 2017 09:10 IST
On Monday, at around 6:30 am, officials of the New Delhi Municipal Council, assisted by the Delhi Police, evicted the 17-odd groups of protesters from Jantar Mantar in compliance with the National Green Tribunal’s orders banning demonstrations in the neighbourhood.
These evicted protesters, however, are left wondering where do they continue their fight for justice, as the North MCD charges Rs 50,000 per day to use the suggested alternative site of Ramlila Grounds, and doesn’t have toilets, and other facilities like Jantar Mantar.
“Do they expect women to go (defecate) in the open? They also expect us to pay Rs 50,000 per day to exercise our constitutional rights, which is neither affordable nor right. Also, if noise pollution is a concern at Jantar Mantar, it would be a bigger issue there, as there are three hospitals in the vicinity,” said major general Satbir Singh, Sena Medal awardee, protesting for one rank one pension (OROP).
Nearly 40 protesters were briefly detained at the Parliament Street police station, while another 10-15 were taken to the Mandir Marg station on Monday, which included many ex-servicemen demanding OROP.
The number of protesters at Jantar Mantar had already started dwindling before the eviction on Monday, according to police, as there were 37 groups there before the court’s orders. “They went back home because they could not afford to stay, and move to Ramlila Grounds,” said a police officer.
However, the protester who was allegedly raped by a Punjab top cop and has been staging a sit-in demanding justice, has decided to stay put. “I, the OROP team and those demanding Gorkhaland , will move the Supreme Court asking for a stay on this eviction,” she said.
Om Shanti Sharma, the woman who wanted to get married to Narendra Modi, wasn’t seen at the protest site. “Wo to apne maike chali gai (She has gone back to her parents),” the alleged rape victim said.
The ones who held on till Monday, are not sure of where to go either. The Gorkhaland protesters, who have been at Jantar Mantar for almost 150 days, said they would take to the streets if they are not given democratic spaces to protest.
The OROP advocates said that though they will continue their protest, they still had not decided the venue.
Some others have come up with interesting solutions.
“They will transfer the living to Ramlila Maidan. Where will they take people like me who have been declared dead? The cemetery?... I think I will protest outside the Tihar Jail. A jail bharo andolan. At least there I will get free meals,” said Santosh Kumar Singh, who has been fighting to prove that he is alive since 2012.
Till now, many protesters, including Singh, had been going to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib for free meals.
The gaurakshsak from Maharashtra, Santosh Narayan, has been staying at the Hanuman Vatika Mandir near Ramlila Ground, in the hopes that officials may soon relax the charges to use the grounds. “If they don’t I will have to return home,” he said.
Others like Manohar Lal Verma, who alleges that a top conglomerate in the country had “looted” his factory, has claimed that he would leave India. “I had applied for asylum in countries such as Pakistan, UK, USA, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc. Canada has responded. I think I will go there now,” he said.
First Published: Oct 31, 2017 09:06 IST