Delhi gangrape: Cameras long gone, a schoolboy, a trader, a mother still hold out
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The three words shook the lawns of India Gate. They forced the national capital into a lockdown in the days leading to the New Year. They resonated across the nation for weeks post the night of December 16, when a 23-year-old paramedic student was brutally gangraped aboard a moving city bus.
The cry awoke the consciousness of a nation and rattled the power corridors of Delhi. When India Gate was denied to them, they gathered at Jantar Mantar, in thousands, to shout slogans and light candles. Three weeks on, their numbers have dwindled to 150. The television cameras are long gone. But at Jantar Mantar, the cry can still be heard. "We want justice."
It is a motley group of people who still gather at Jantar Mantar. Some are part of groups like the 'Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti'. Others represent political outfits like the Aam Aadmi Party and the Communist Party of India. A majority are school students, taking advantage of an extended winter vacation. Families mill about, too, with several saying that "it is our duty to take out some time to come to Jantar Mantar, if we want things to really change".
They have differing views. A few like the idea of chemical castration for sexual offenders, while the rest argue for capital punishment. But all it takes is for one person to raise the slogan, and they all go up in unison. "We want justice."
Two of those at Jantar Mantar have embarked on an extreme path to register their protest — a hunger strike. One of them is Tejinder Singh Bagga, president of the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena. "The Sena has a list of 12 demands from the Central government, which includes capital punishment for rapists and no presidential pardon or commutation of death sentence in case it is given. This is the fourth day of my hunger strike."
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