1st February, 2016 a large number of people came out on the streets of Mumbai to show solidarity with Rohith Vemula. Slogans of “RSS Hosh mey aao”, “Hindutvawaadi hosh mey aao” “Gandhi key khuni hosh mey aao” echoed all through the protest rally.
It was only two days back, on the 30th of February, Delhi Police had beaten up peaceful student protesters. The anger and frustration of the liberal, secular, peace leaving citizens was palpable in this rally. Mumbai protest was attended by a much bigger and diverse group of people. Artistes, Activists, Lawyers, Journalists and various political parties came forward to show solidarity with Rohith Vemula’s family, friends and also with the protesting students of delhi who had been peaceful in their mourning and protest.
Pictures and Report by Mayank Saxena
In the Protest speakers repeatedly called the RSS (Rashtriya Sevak Sangh, a right wing group that wants Hindu Nation and do away with secularism in India) a divisive political group. The speakers and the crowd held Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party BJP responsible for suppressing students’ voices, discriminating against Dalits and minorities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was blamed for not bringing the culprits to book.
There were songs and more songs of equality, peace and harmony. There was an installation that represented the constitution of India. In their speeches the speakers repeatedly maintained that it was the constitution that was under threat under the present regime. They said the government machinery is busy establishing that Rohith Vemula was not Dalit while the citizens are waiting to see some semblance of justice.
As the rally moved people from all walks of life joined the protesters in Mumbai on the 1st of February, 2016. Considering it was the first working day of the week the number of people was unexpected.