New Delhi, Oct 2 (PTI) Jantar Mantar in central Delhi buzzed with activity on Friday as the venue witnessed perhaps its biggest protest ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, with hundreds of protesters gathering there to demand justice for the woman who was allegedly gang-raped in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.
Social distancing norms and wearing of masks went for a toss as some of the protesters raised slogans without wearing them.
Police kept on asking participants to wear masks and maintain distance through announcements even as the number of protesters swelled.
A sea of people from different walks of life -- students, activists, citizens and political leaders -- attended the protest which was initially supposed to be held at India Gate but was later shifted to Jantar Mantar owing to the prohibitory orders in place around Rajpath area.
'They are silencing the family but they would not be able to silence the people. I am scared due to the COVID-19 pandemic but raising my voice to demand justice for the Hathras victim is more important. That is what forced me to step out at this time,' said Neha Dwivedi, one of the protesters.
Another participant Shefali Verma, who is a mother of an 18-year-old woman, said, 'I am scared for the safety of my daughter. I know we are fighting a pandemic but it was important that today we come out to raise our voice against another pandemic, which is rape. We want justice for that daughter, who did not even get dignity in her death.' Another woman, accompanying Verma said despite a surge in coronavirus cases in the national capital, she came out because it was essential.
'Only when we will unite to raise our voice, will it have some impact. We are living in difficult times, when we are fighting the pandemic and it is scary to be out at this time but it is the need of the hour,' she said.
People also held a candlelight vigil for the Hathras gang-rape victim as slogans demanding the resignation of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanth and seeking justice for the victim rent the air.
Left leaning student activists carrying ''dhaplis'' also raised slogans against the UP government.
The police had said gathering of up to 100 people is permissible at Jantar Mantar and that too with prior permission of the competent authority.
However, the number of protesters were more than 100 at the protest site. PTI NIT SLB TDS TDS