Day 3: 28-07-2010
Chotu, whom you would remember from our six month long stay at Jantar Mantar two years ago, greeted us with hot tea at the dharna sthal where we start our protest early morning every day and pack up in the late evening. So instead of marching 800km for a month and a half, we now march some four kilometers every day between St’ Columbus school, our shelter home for the night, and Jantar Mantar. This day time protest isn’t our idea but Delhi Government’s in light of upcoming Common wealth games. If four months in advance of the Games the movement on the streets is so severely curtailed, one can easily make out what will happen in October. Possibly, in light of law and order situation, Delhi Government might come up with ‘Stay at Home at all times and enjoy the games from your idiot box’ orders. Anyways, we filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court opposing the Delhi Government ruling that prohibits all over night stays at Jantar Mantar. The matter came for hearing today and was argued for us by Adv. Prashant Bhushan. The decision is expected on Monday, 1st August.
Towards the afternoon Jantar Mantar was literally taken over by around 4000 members of Jat community who threatened to disrupt the sporting extravangza unless their demand of reservation in government jobs is met. In the evening Rachna and Shalini went to meet Mr. Paswan, Member-Rajya Sabha, who is not only former Minister of Chemicals and the Fertlizers but was also an active member of earlier GOM which recommended setting up of an Empowered Commission to the Prime Minister in 2008. He has been very supportive to our demands so far.
Meanwhile, in last two days Rafat, Yasmeen and Komal from Bhopal kickstarted their Delhi school outreach with the first session on Tuesday at Vasant Valley School, Vasant Kunj. There were approximately 100 kids in the hall who listened attentively to what Bhopali kids had to say. On Wednesday the kids who are also members of Children Against Dow Carbide went to address the students of Sri Ram School. A group of students welcomed them and gave the school tour. Yasmeen and Rafat were quite taken in by the art and clay modeling units at the school. Soon the trio became quite friendly with the Sri Ram students and discussed the differences between their school and the facilities available to students in Delhi. Some 150 kids watched Hush baby, the film produced in 2008 and featuring our very own Sarita and Salim amongst others, followed by the documentary-It happened in Bhopal. Yasmeen told them the reasons that forced Bhopalis to be once again in Delhi. Rafat described the many different actions that happened in the 2008 protest campaign. Komal urged the students to support Bhopalis in every way possible. And then came in many questions- How many children in second generation are affected? Has the Prime Minister seen them? Why did he not meet you when you requested him? Did you write to him? But didn’t we give hearts to him last time? We did, but it seems he prefers to keep them locked away!