Today was an exceptionally cheerful day at the dharna sthal as about 70 new faces from Bhopal had replaced the previous batch. Sakina and Sana did yet another round of AIIMS hospital for Sana’s tumor operation and have finally been given a date for the operation. They will now be here in the first week of November for the surgery and medication.
Students from Delhi University joined us today for a interaction with Satyu and Rasheeda Apa. Inquisitive about the history of the accident and site remediation, they put forward their queries and the interaction went on very well with Satyu unfolding about the biggest industrial disaster. Some of them also helped us prepare posters for protest.
People’s movement across the country were also demonstrating across india against the violation of people’s rights and land by anti-people laws. Movements protested the displacement of people all around the country, police and mafia attacks, forced land acquisition in the tribal belts of Chattisgarh, Kalinga Nagar and Sompeta, the destruction of forests, ruining of fertile agricultural lands, adivasi lives and fisheries – all done in the name of development and GDP growth. The demonstration was spirited, culminating with burning the Land Acquisition Act, and the Bhopalis participated enthusiastically, shouting slogans and singing songs.
The protest also brought us music, from Ronid of Burning Voices, and from Manzil, the music group which has been performing for us. Neeraj, the lead singer of Manzil had even prepared a new song specially about Bhopal and everyone was enthusiastic about it. Even after the protest was over, while the police grumbled that it was time to clear the grounds, we continued singing and applauding. Neeraj asked Shanti bai to dance and she happily agreed and danced on the famous ‘Ey, Sajni’ song. The song ‘Ey Sajni’ is very popular with Bhopalis, and Yasmeen, Kaveri and many more joined Shanti Bai and the music filled the famous Jantar Mantar pavement with euphoria. The hot and humid day was taken over by the overcast and soon it started to drizzle.
Much later when Bhopalis had cleared the dharna sthal today, one of the police personnel came forward and quietly congratulated us for the lovely evening. People against people is not so much of an instinct but more of propaganda, hoping these barriers will break someday. Bhopal dharna 2010 continues in good spirits.