25 groups hold protest march against govt

MUMBAI : Members of at least 25 groups on Thursday took out a protest march against several issues, including lynching, beef ban, casteism, curtailment of free speech and ‘saffronisation’ of education, among others. The march started at the Annabhau Sathe Udyan, Kurla (East) and ended at Kurla East Railway Station.

“We have come to create a ripple in support of our rights that are being curtailed by the government. Yes, we will talk about it, we will come out on the streets, we will sing against it, we will shout slogans against it,” said one of the organisers on the mic, asking the audience, “Are we ready?”

The participants included Citizens For Justice and Peace, One Future Collective, Lokanche Dost, TISS Students Union, Indian Christian Women’s Movement, National Hawkers Federation, Forum Against Oppression of Women and Bebaak Collective, among others.

Parody songs like “Jhoot bole Modi aake, iss Modi se dariyo. Acche din nahi aayenge, tum dekhte rahiyo” were mouthed by marchers, who included students, men, women and transgender

“The government is imposing its Hindutva ideology. We oppose it,” said Dr Kunda P, who is associated with Satyashodhak Resource Centre. Chayanika Shah, a representative of queer feminist LGBTQ collective Labia, said, “We think that in the past five years, the country has been taken on a path that is not good for women or any marginalised community. In 2014, we were wary of what this government would do. But what we have seen it do in the last five years has exceeded our imagination. This politics of spreading hate and violence needs urgent retraction before we think of a new agenda.”

“The issues here are not specific to women alone. It is our responsibility to raise our voices if we feel equally concerned about hate, mob lynching and attacks on women’s rights. If women are not safe, if their issues are not given priority, society as a whole will never progress. We need to mobilise against fascist forces, which is why I have joined this march,” said TISS student Jeet