Dharna day 4: Common folk make way for the Commonwealth

Day 4: 29-07-2010
Today was relatively a light day though Delhi heat and humidity were present in equal measure. We started the day as usual with a fresh round of slogans. Some 100 Bhopalis joined us today. Amongst these were Mamu and Naeem who had also participated very actively in the last padyatra (footmarch) in 2008. Despite a two year period in between, that marked a growing restlessness with the State, their spirits remain undaunted.

Dispensing medicines

We moved our dharna to a different location second time in a week. Now we are right opposite the street where we camped in 2006 and 2008. Soon, we assembled slides and photographs depicting the tragedy in Bhopal in last twenty six years. Lots of passersby came in to read the slides. The awareness caused by the media coverage in the days after the 7th June has also triggered a renewed interest in public.

However, something else caught our attention. Ever since morning there was quite a hustle bustle at Jantar Mantar. Reason – A rally demanding 33% reservation for women in the Parliament. A number of popular artists from Indian film Industry were to come- Sharmilla Tagore, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Aazmi amongst others. Soon we saw thousands of women, men and children wearing blue caps with ‘33 percent’ marked on it, marching together from Parliament Street to Jantar Mantar, shouting slogans and singing songs. The rally was organized by Alliance for 33% and it saw participation from more than 350 organisations. The rally was also addressed by Members of Parliament D. Raja, Annie Raja and Brinda Karat who are also long time Bhopal supporters. Later we learnt that a delegation went on to meet President Pratibha Patil.

Talking about political supporters, in the morning Sathyu and Rachna went on to meet DMK Member of Parliament Ms. Kanimozhi . She was among the many MPs who had endorsed a letter addressed to the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh demanding Empowered Commission among other things in 2008. This time too she assured her full support to our demands and expressed her solidarity.

Around 5:30 in the evening a group of police men came to the dharna for now in Delhi the new rule says- ‘You Common folk vacate Jantar Mantar, make way for Common wealth.’ So we packed our bags and marched to St’ Columbus School that treated us with remarkable hospitality and opened its arms to us for the night stay. We will be back tomorrow morning!

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