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April 27, 2018
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Citizens protest Kathua rapePeople take to the streets in Bandra, Navi Mumbai, Thane as anger pours out

Posters carrying words and visuals expressing anger and disgust marked protests against the Kathua rape and murder and the rape case ion Unnao across the city, as citizens came together to demand justice for the victims.

Around 1,000 people joined hands to stage a protest on Carter Road in Bandra, organised by NGOs Zero Tolerance and SheSays India. Ruben Mascarenhas, founder, Zero Tolerance said of protests previously organised, this one stood out. “There are people in some parts of the country who are overtly supporting the accused or are somehow silent about it because they feel they will incriminate some larger ideology.”

Lawyer Abha Singh said the objective is to bring together people using social media to raise their voice against such acts. “In the Unnao rape case, the father of the victim was threatened, terrorised, beaten up and arrested. He died in judicial custody. This is a clear message that if you raise your voiced against somebody powerful, you could be put behind bars, or worse, killed.”

As some citizens raised slogans like “you rape, you die”, others said the death penalty wasn’t enough. They felt the country needed to take real measures to protect women. Fathers were seen with their children as they held posters saying, “I am a father and am worried about the safety of my daughter.” Girls aged 10 and younger, looking scared, were heard saying, “We are here for our safety.”

Candlelight protest

People congregated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue on Juhu beach to hold a candlelight protest for justice for the victims. City Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam was present as well. Local Congress leader Michael Vas, who heads the city Congress’s social cell, said, “We need justice for the Kathua victim. But the people who have victimised her are still alive and no action has been taken against them. Instead of penalising them, they have been supported and are treated as if they were leaders. What is the sensitivity that these people have regarding the women of this country?”