Beaten but not yet broken
UNCIVIL WAR: STUDENTS STICK TO DEMANDS DESPITE PRESSURE ON THEM TO QUIT
Beaten but not broken. This was the mood outside Raisina Hills from Saturday night till Sunday morning, where some 100 protesters stayed fighting the bitter cold, sharing biscuits and coffee, singing patriotic songs and discussing stories of pre-independence national heroes.
While it was a foggy night with the minimum temperature recorded at 5.9 degree Celsius, at least a hundred college students had decided that they would stay in front of police barricades at Raisina Hills. Their intention was clear: the fight must not end till the government ensured safety of people across India.
The entire night they kept on collecting used water bottles, papers, wooden material and other items gathered during the day-long protest. They tried to keep themselves warm to continue their fight when dawn broke.
Humming patriotic songs of Maharani Lakshmi Bai to Bhagat Singh, they sat in three groups. They even managed to make a small bonfire with the collected rags. Whenever the fire died down, they collected more rags to burn.
They discussed the Indian political system, leaders and corrupt practices as well. Whenever they felt sleepy, one of them started shouting, “Beaten but not broken. We will fight for justice.”
Hearing this, the rest joined the chorus.
Hunger and thirst
When they felt hungry, they had nothing to eat or drink, but somehow they called their friends, who brought packets of biscuit and water. These were also offered to police officers on the other side of the barricades.
“Sir, have it. You all will be hungry. We will fight tomorrow but for now let’s share,” said Avnish Kumar, a student of the Indian Institute of Technology. But the officers refused.
On why they were camping at night, Delhi University student Shailesh Sharma said, “We are here for justice.” On what kind of justice they want, he said, “Today, she (the victims) is suffering because of police negligence and some brutes. Tomorrow, I am scared my sister can be gang raped. All we want is better policing and at least honest policing.”
They kept shouting slogans throughout the night as policemen stared at them in the cold from the other side. At 5 am on Sunday when they were tired and exhausted, police evicted them and put them in a bus. They were dropped at ISBT.
“We are amazed to see why police are behaving like this with us,” said Neetu Saran, a student. Police said the protesters were doing their part. “India is democratic country,” said a senior officer.