In the aftermath of the violence in the JNU campus meted out by masked goons, what started with a few students gathering at the Gateway of India, turned out to be a massive protest by Monday evening. Thankfully, even though permission for the protest had been denied, it stayed peaceful.
Sangramsing Nishandar, DCP, said that even though permission had not been granted, “The police are respecting the Constitution and are trying to maintain law and order in the area”. It was only inside the Gateway that protestors were not allowed, since the heritage structure must be protected.
In some cases, permission to protest were not just denied from the police but also parents. NM college students were seen making creative posters for the demonstration but would only stay there “for two to three hours”. Hetwi Bhanushali (19) said, “We won’t stay here for long as my friend’s parents don’t know where we are because they didn’t allow us to be a part of this.”
After the brutal treatment JNU students received, parents all over India naturally, fear for the safety of their children. However, it couldn’t stop youngsters from coming out and raising their voices in unison against injustice.
Meanwhile, the traffic police could also be seen monitoring and controlling the traffic so that the commuters do not have a problem and a traffic jam could be avoided. Mumbai police could be seen making life easier for both the protestors as well as the commuters by forming a human wall between the protestors protesting near the Gateway of India, spilling on the road and the traffic. One could hear the police constantly telling protestors to stay inside the human wall. Policemen and policewomen were also seen helping people by giving them directions or helping a protestor who could not find her bag. This forms a stark contrast to the brutality of the Delhi police as well as the detentions carried out by the Bangalore police.
With food being passed around, and the volunteers distributing biscuits, water, dry fruits and bread, aid came to the protestors to help them sustain long hours as some protestors stayed put at the Gateway of India all through Sunday night. There were requests by the people to get extra-large T- shirts and chaddars for the protestors. Some hotels around the area also volunteered to provide food for the protestors to show their solidarity with the protest against CAA and the violence in JNU.
No number of hurdles seem to have deterred people from protesting. Young and old alike, they had tremendous unity and empathy, ready to help each other when needed and with the cooperation and generous help from the police, the demonstration proceeded smoothly. With violence erupting all over the country, the harmony and unity in Mumbai restores one’s faith.
Written by Nitya Narasimhan & Ananya Endow
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