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No pride march: ‘Solidarity meet’ at Azad Maidan

By Yesha Kotak, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 31, 2020 01:01 AM IST

A day after the Mumbai Police denied permission to the organisers of Mumbai Pride March to take out a rally along the August Kranti Maidan-Nana Chowk-Lamington Road-Opera House-Kennedy Bridge route, they have decided to hold a community “solidarity meet” at Azad Maidan on Saturday.

Over the past 11 years, the march, organised by Humsafar Trust and Queer Azaadi Mumbai, has been taking the same August Kranti Maidan route. However, they were denied permission this year on the grounds that participants may raise anti-government and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) slogans.

The organisers on Thursday decided to hold a “solidarity meet” at Azad Maidan at 3pm on February 1. “We spoke to politicians and had almost procured the permissions again. However, the Jamia incident, where a student was shot, turned our celebration into an emotion of solidarity. We were already apprised that there is a security concern throughout India,” read the statement issued by QAM. Tinesh Chopade, advocacy manager at Humsafar Trust, said they have applied for fresh permissions for the community gathering. “The meet would we more of a solidarity gathering focusing on LGBTQIA+ issues. It will only be attended by community members, Corporates might not join now. We have asked permission for 4,000 people,” he said. The earlier permission for the march was for 10,000-15,000 people.

Pranay Ashok, spokesperson of Mumbai Police, said, “It is for the local police station to decide on the permission. There shouldn’t be any problem with giving permission for the event at Azad Maidan,” said Ashok.

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