A thousand seeds of resistance got planted yesterday evening at Jantar Mantar, national protest site, Delhi on the blood shed by Junaid. The name Junaid in Urdu means fighter, warrior whose strength is equal to a small army.
I reached Jantar Mantar at 4.30 p.m. when people had already started coming from Delhi and NCR region. The meeting was to start at 6 p.m. My estimate is that three thousand people were there at any moment of time; while some were leaving others were joining. Outside the party-politics-structure this was the largest protest by activists in Delhi. I was able to meet lots of my long lost activist friends. People were talking in small groups and giving vent to their feelings. Remarkably, Muslim men and women, children and adults were visibly present in large numbers. Unfortunately there was only one loudspeaker, so what was being said from the dais was not audible but there was freshness about the people on the dais.
PIL Watch Group members make at least one visit to this national protest site daily since December 2012. In fact even before Modi government was installed at the Centre, the right wingers had taken control of the national protest site through continuous protests by cow andolan groups; language (Hindi) andolan groups; dharnas by followers of Asaram and other assortment of Babas. Yesterday after more than three long years the activists were able to recapture the national protest site, albeit for a day!
Mother Nature cried the whole day in memory of Junaid; however by evening the incessant rain fall had stopped. The program went undisturbed. The sky was clear.
The only other such protest that took place in Delhi was after Operation Blue Star when a few political activists gave out a press statement about a public meeting at V.P. House, Opposite Parliament House, New Delhi. The meeting was scheduled in the Deputy Speaker’s Hall assuming that a few hundred may turn up. The Sikhs in Delhi were waiting for such a meeting to be held. About three thousand people assembled. Ten more loudspeakers had to be installed; hundreds of large size durries had to be put on the lawns of V.P. House. The program was delayed by two hours. I was present all through. All speakers were heard with pin drop silence. The net result was that from that evening onwards the fears in the minds of Sikhs in Delhi post Operation Blue Star, which had taken place in June 1984 vanished in thin air.
Yesterday I interacted with lots of people. The sense I got was that the Muslims in Delhi and NCR region will be able to shed the fear seeing the all round support by people from different castes and communities.
The political ambiance of yesterday’s meeting was the same as captured and envisaged by Binu Mathew, Editor, Countercurrrents.org in ‘A Thousand Flowers Should Bloom For Junaid.’ The seeds anyway have been sown. Hope, as they say, lies eternal in one’s chest.
Dr. P.S. Sahni is member of PIL Watch Group Email: firstname.lastname@example.org