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Silent protests across India over Delhi braveheart's death

Dec 29, 2012 11:41 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Silent protests are being held across the capital on Saturday as a mark of respect for the 23-year-old Delhi braveheart who died 12 days after being most heinously assaulted and gangraped by six men aboard a moving bus in the national capital. People started gathering at Jantar Mantar here at around 10.00 am and sat in silence. Aam Aadmi Party leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas also joined the protest along with some of their supporters with their mouth tied with black cloth.

The students of Jawaharlal Nehru University are holding a silent protest till the Munirka flyover, which is where the braveheart had boarded the bus along with her friend on the night of December 16.

Protest marches are also being planned across the country, including one by theatre and film personalities in Mumbai at 5.30 pm, by youth organisations in Bangalore and Kolkata.

A jittery Delhi Police has, however, locked down Delhi, shutting down 10 Metro stations. These include Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, RCR, Udyog Bhavan, Jorbagh, Khan Market, Rajiv Chowk, Barakhambha, Mandi House and Pragati Maidan metro stations. However, inter-change facility will be available at Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat stations, DMRC officials said.

The police have also barricaded all entry points to India Gate, where massive protests in the immediate aftermath of the rape had taken place, along with roads leading to Vijay Chowk and Rajpath. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have also been imposed in the New Delhi district of the national capital.

Aam Aadmi Party National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "Her death is a matter of shame and sorrow for all of us. Let's resolve that we will not let her death go in vain. "Aren't we all responsible for her death? Can we all now do something so that half of humanity starts feeling safe amongst us?" he said.

The mourners protested against the security lock down of India Gate and Raisina Hill where violent demonstrations were witnessed last weekend over the rape. "The government is not even allowing mourning of the death. This is insensitivity. There is complete lock down. You have the metro stations shut. You have a road completely blocked. This is undemocratic," a protester Sunil said.

Sisodia said the government was muzzling the voice of people by shutting Metro and closing down India Gate. In a statement, AAP said the girl, who became the symbol of women's insecurity and their courage, is no more. "This is a moment of national grief. This is also a moment of national shame. We, as a nation, have failed to provide conditions in which women can lead a normal life without being subjected to indignities. We, as a society, have failed to evolve a culture of respect and equality for women.

"This event and the subsequent developments have no doubt generated widespread outrage and justified anger. But today we must convert this into a positive resolve. Let us all resolve that we shall convert this moment into a movement to end all forms of violence against women. Let No Violence Against Women be our national new year's resolution," it said.

In tweets, activist Kiran Bedi said, "today is a day of reflection and personal audit on the way we as parents and teachers are grooming boys in this country. "Today is day of mourning on lives we have lost because of failure of our criminal justice system and resolve to not fail it in future. Today is a day to also reflect the way we project our women in media," she said.

With additional information from PTI