Goa saw not one but three candlelight marches yesterday evening in the protest against the horrifying rapes happening in North India. Thousands turned up at all three venues – Panjim, Saligao, and Margao. The rape of an 8-year-old girl, Asifa Bano in Kathua, Jammu & Kashmir has left the whole country shaken, scared and now angry. Marches were organized all over the country in protest of this heinous crime. Murder and rape have also become a part of Goa if the incidents in the recent past are anything to go by.
Goa marches for justice against Asifa’s rape
People from Panjim and surrounding areas gathered at 6:30 pm and marched from the Miramar circle to Azad Maidan. The march saw people from all walks of life participating. From the very young, which included little children, to the older generation of senior citizens. Everyone braved the heat and humidity to march together in solidarity for justice against rape. Speakers at the rally mentioned that the main purpose was to raise awareness amongst the public about the cruelty inflicted on young Asifa Bano. This 8-year-old was gang-raped and murdered in Kathua, Jammu & Kashmir in January. The people came together to demand justice.
The Saligao/Calangute area saw a similar scene where a large crowd gathered at the Saligao panchayat and marched all the way to St Alex’s Church in Calangute. They too were marching for justice for the young rape victim.
The participants at all venues included social activists, writers, advocates, journalists. There also was a large number of common men and others who came out to show their support. They joined the silent peaceful march against rapists and demanded justice for all rape victims including in Kathua in Kashmir, Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, and Surat in Gujarat.
Protestors carried placards reading ‘Justice to Kathua, Surat and Unnao rape victims’, ‘Justice to Asifa’ and ‘There is a rape epidemic in India, what are we doing’, ‘No means no rape’ and ‘Stop rapes now’ and many more.
The people speak out
Panjim’s march ended at the Azad Maidan. The youngsters present were invited to speak out about the cruelty and the atrocities of the rape. They not only demanded justice but they also demanded a change in people’s mindsets before it becomes too late to save anyone.
The Navhind Times and TOI have a few quotes from people that marched in Panjim. You can read them below.
“The act of rape alone is cruel worse still that it happened inside the temple. The men responsible for this should be brought forward and given harsh punishment,” said Swapnesh Kuncoliencar, a student of Dhempe college, Miramar.
“The brutality in Unnao and Kathua need to be spoken about so that people know the misery of the girls who had to suffer at the hands of those vile men. The state government should pressure the Centre to take action against them,” said another local, Altaf Jamadar.
“The whole nation should demand for capital punishment for the ones involved in this crime. This incident is the most shocking and brutal in the nation’s history and they should not be spared,” said activist Prajal Sakardande.
Gretchen Barretto, who conceptualized and executed the peaceful rally, urged people to come forward and voice their opinions on crimes against women. They read the preamble of the Constitution and vowed to maintain secularism in Goa.
Information credit – The Navhind Times and TOI