Hundreds of lawyers held a militant protest march from Supreme Court to Jantar Mantar on March 6. The lawyers were protesting against the recent state-organised violence and terror in Delhi, in the last week of February, specifically targeting the Muslim community, in which the police did nothing to protect the victims and instead, actively aided the murderous mobs. Several lawyers’ organisations participated in the protest action. The lawyers were joined by activists of many other organisations who have been fighting consistently against state organized communal violence and state terror and for the rights of the people.
The lawyers and other activists gathered at the gate of the Supreme Court under the banner of ‘Lawyers for Democracy – Lawyers’ march for peace against Delhi Riots’. They held up in their hands placards with slogans such as “Down with state organized violence!”, “Condemn the role of the state in the recent violence in Delhi!”, “Delhi violence – not riots but state organized crime!”, “Home Minister must resign!”, “No to CAA/NRC!”, “Don’t divide us on the basis of religion!”, etc. They raised slogans denouncing the role of the state and the police and expressing solidarity with the affected people. They sang songs reaffirming the unity of our people, irrespective of religion, and our determination to stand together despite the attempts of those in power to divide us.
Braving torrential rain, the protestors marched from Supreme Court to Jantar Mantar, covering a distance of more than 3.5 km. They militantly raised slogans all the way, denouncing the state and the police and security forces, for their failure to protect the people of Delhi. Hundreds of people lined up along the way, to watch this unusual but very heartening sight of lawyers marching in protest against the government in power and in defence of the rights and unity of our people.
At Jantar Mantar, the march culminated in a public rally. Even though the rain continued unabated, the participants in the march, drenched thoroughly by now, raised slogans reaffirming the unity of our people to resist all attempts of the rulers to divide us.
Several lawyers and activists addressed the rally. They described the violence in Delhi in the last week of February as state-organised and described how the police were under orders to not stop the communal murderous gangs. These murderous gangs came armed with stones, lathis, swords, petrol bombs, even guns, and carried out their attacks with impunity, with the police standing by as mute spectators. They burnt down houses, places of worship, vehicles, shops and establishments, even schools, specifically targeting the Muslim community, but also affecting many Hindu families in the process. In many cases the police helped the attackers. The police did not heed cries for help, prevented relief and supplies coming in from outside as well as prevented the injured from being taken to the hospitals. Politicians of the ruling party openly issued communal threats and abuses, inciting the attackers. Speakers highlighted how the people of all communities reached out immediately, to offer help in every way possible — medical aid, legal aid, food supplies, shelter, etc. Speakers also denounced the CAA as divisive and questioned the basis of a law that makes a person’s religion the condition for granting citizenship. They blamed the Supreme Court and other courts for not defending the rights of the people.
The militant protest march by lawyers and human rights activists in the heart of Delhi shows the growing anger and resentment of our people against state organized violence and state terror and against the attempts of the rulers to break our unity. It shows the growing realization among our people that we cannot rely on the courts or on the state machinery to defend us and protect our rights.