Over 400 human rights bodies will be coming together on September 5 through a nationwide campaign to raise their voice against various issues faced by marginalised sections of society, activists said on Thursday. In a press briefing, the activists said the campaign 'Hum Agar Uthe Nahi Toh' will be launched through protests on streets and also on social media.
Activist Shabnam Hashmi said the campaign aims to reach every section of society across the country. "Due to COVID-19, we will not be able to come out on streets in large numbers but there will be videos on issues and there will also be social media live sessions and also posters, art, paintings can be made on the subject people wish to raise their voice on," Hashmi said.
Anjali Bhardwaj, co-convenor of the campaign for people's right to information and a founding member of Satark Nagrik Sangathan, claimed that there has been an "unprecedented attack" on India's democracy and the citizens' constitutional rights. "The COVID-19 crisis the way it was handled also exposed the anti-poor regime. The way lockdown was announced how it hit the farmers, migrant workers or sex workers how they have lost all employment and the government has done little to fix the problem," she said.
Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association, said many movements have come together to say something through this campaign and these are the movements that try to make India the best place it could be. "The government is moving fast to change the India we know. If we look at the National Education Policy, it is bringing graded inequality. In case of Environment Impact Assessment, they are getting rid of environmental assessment measures and they are moving fast to get rid of labour laws," Krishnan said.
"These are urgent times so that is why we have to come together and protect India's Constitution and democracy," she said. Annie Raja, general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women, said there needs to be discussions on all sorts of issues whether it is violence against women or atrocities against marginalised sections of society.
"The government is not thinking that's why there is unprecedented increase of violence against women. If we don't speak up now then it would be a tragedy," she said. Mariam Dhawale, general secretary of All India Democratic Women's Association, said the campaign is a timely intervention.
"The government is using the pandemic to change the entire nature of the country thinking the country is grappling with the pandemic and will not be able to revolt," she said. "There is a hunger crisis, rise in violence. The government is rushing through laws by changing them. The campaign will be launched on the day when journalist Gauri Lankesh was assassinated three years back on September 5," she said.