Mumbaiites demand change of laws

Meera Nandan and Mugdha Variyar

Mumbai, Dec. 30 -- As thousands gathered in Delhi to express their grief and anger over the death of the 23-year-old gangrape victim, groups of people in Mumbai marched and formed human chains to demand justice for her.

At Shivaji Park, Dadar, around 70 people including students from Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya, Dadar Hindu Colony, formed a human chain and walked around the ground. A student, who was part of the protest, said, "We lost our brave sister today, and we don't want to lose any more people to such brutality."

Grief, rather than aggression, was visible on the faces of the participants. Initially, the group had planned a small gathering near the ground. But as information about the protest spread via social networking sites Twitter and Face book, the numbers of protesters grew.

"We are united against crimes on women; we condemn it and we will continue our fight till there is a complete change in laws," said Priyanka Nath, a protester. The participants wore a black ribbon around their arms and held hoardings with anti-harassment messages on them.

Glynis D'Cunha a businesswoman, said, "Out there in Delhi a mother has lost her daughter. I am also a mother of a girl child; I am here to mourn the death of a girl who was a loving daughter to her parents. They have lost a child to monsters."

The protest lasted for more than an hour and as the chain lengthened with the addition of more participants, the group walked around Shivaji Park. "I'm here today to express my solidarity with every victim of rape - man, woman or child - no matter what the class, caste or circumstances," said writer Jerry Pinto, who had joined the protesters.

Groups of people gathered in other parts of the city to express their grief over the death of the girl. More than 900 people attended a march from Juhu beach to Kaifi Azmi Park asking for better governance in the wake of the rape victim's death.

"We appeal for measures to ensure the safety of India's daughters and a better system so that this does not happen to any other girl," said Shirley Singh, 44, Juhu resident and secretary of Juhu Residents' Association. The protest was attended by film personalities Shabana Azmi and Mahesh Bhatt, who had also tweeted about the event asking people to join.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.