New Delhi, Dec. 26 -- It was the second day of protests at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday seeking justice for the 23-year-old gangrape survivor, but the protesters already looked desperate in their bid to not let the movement fizzle out.
After the protests over the weekend at India Gate turned violent, leaving many injured, and the death of a police constable on Tuesday, protesters were seen discussing plans to phone random people and ask them to spare a day for protest.
"The number of protesters has gone down considerably. We fear the movement may fizzle out soon. There are several small groups protesting here. They all need to come together," said Ashish Kumar Duggal, who has his office in Udyog Bhawan.
Though protesters continued to demand "immediate justice" in the gangrape case by hanging all the accused, there were some who also paid homage to the slain constable Subhash Chand Tomar.
"There is concern that there may be a police backlash and many protesters can be booked for the violence," said Himanshu Chawala, 25, who works as a software engineer in Gurgaon.
Protesters allege the violence was "stage-managed" so that there is a police backlash and the movement fizzles out. The protesters also claimed that the killing of the constable was an attempt to sabotage the protests.
"There's not much hope left. But we will not give up. We will keep coming here and protest to express our solidarity with the gangrape survivor. The constable was killed by people who didn't want to see our movement succeed," he said.
The thin attendance on Christmas was also attributed to the fact that several Metro stations and roads in central Delhi continued to be shut for the third consecutive day and the Capital experienced a dip in temperature.
India Gate remained out of bounds for demonstrations. Although the protest was scheduled to start from 8am, it began only after 9.30am.
"Today the crowd is much less than yesterday. It is not more than 200 people. It has been peaceful," said a police officer posted in the area.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.