Commemorating Gauri Lankesh’s killing and as a fight against injustice, a nationwide rally #IfWeDoNotRise was organised on September 5 — a day when she was killed three years ago. More than 103 organisations which included groups, women, activists, lawyers, LGBTQIA activists of various faiths, castes, gender, artists, intellectuals, human rights defenders from across Maharashtra’s 33 districts participated.
In this national campaign, 26 states and 2 union territories also participated.
In the villages, tehsils(blocks) and cities across Maharashtra, these voices rose unitedly expressing their dissent on social media; public programmes, through demonstration etc. In some places, these protests were carried on keeping the local authorities informed, stated the organisers.
The campaign is to:
-To defend Constitutional rights
-To save the society from fascism
-To oppose the suppression of anti-CAA activists
-To oppose the suppression of constitutional rights of Kashmiri people and leaders
-To fight for LGBTQIA rights
-To oppose the dilution of Right to Information
-To defend Secularism and Democracy
-To protect cultural and social diversity presently under threat
-To protect our natural resources and environment, national assets like public sector companies under threat
-To defend our freedom of expression and right to dissent
Due to the COVID-19 situation, utmost care was taken during the demonstration maintaining physical distancing and wearing face masks.
Groups like Parcham from Mumbra, Thane; National Alliance for People’s Movement and others in Pune; Sarvahara Jan Andolan, a tribal group in Raigad; Maharashtra Hawkers Federation in Navi Mumbai; Bhartiya Mahila Federation in Aurangabad and Parbhani; Maharashtra Asha Union and AICTU took to the streets to support the campaign.
Ulka Mahajan from Sarvahara Jan Andolan Raigarh said, “The current government (at the centre) is the most destructive one that we have seen since Independence. The policy of the Modi/BJP government of repeatedly giving false promises and pushing the country to a disaster should be brought to light. This is the right time to come into action.” She added, “Let us raise our voices. Meet us fight, against the falsehoods, against the injustices, for the truth, to save this country”
Adding to it, Pratima Joshi, Senior Journalist said, “In the past couple of years, we are witnessing constant attacks on the systems of democratic elections, Parliament, courts, governance and media to break the legitimacy of these institutions and to make them non-functional. Especially the media has been tampered with to such an extent that journalism itself has almost been killed. These are very unhealthy signs for any democracy. If we wish to change the situation, the people of this country have to take charge to save the soul of Indian democracy.”