On the 16th of December, 2012, a 23 year old paramedical student was gang raped in a moving bus in India’s capital city of Delhi. The girl has since been in a critical condition in a government hospital. Delhi has a reputation of being notoriously unsafe for women. Owing to a perceived lack of appropriate response by the government, protesters – ranging from university students to political parties and civil society groups – turned up at the centre of the government setup in Delhi. Many were demanding the capital punishment for this case as well as a new legislation that would bring the capital punishment to all rapists. This photoessay by Raghu Karla documents the protests that took place on the 22nd of December, 2012. The police used tear gas shells, water cannons and lathicharge (a term used to describe a charge with batons against protesters) when the crowds began to storm the Raisina Hill, on which the main ministry office buildings (including the Prime Minister’s Office) and the Presidential Estate are situated.
By Raghu Kalra, 22nd December, 2012
Raghu Kalra writes,
“The situation was tense. Most of the crowd comprised of school and college students demanding justice for the 23 year old rape victim. This protest was not guided by any leaders. It was a spontaneous gathering of a lot of people who were angered and shaken up by what had happened in the capital only a few days ago. The protest was peaceful for most part of the day until a few tried to go over the weak barricading put up by the police, which ultimately led to the tear gassing and use of water cannons. This made the situation worse. It is expected that the crowds of protesters will grow on Sunday.”
Protesters climb poles on the Raj Path in Delhi. In the background is the North Block, in which the Ministry of Home Affairs is situated.
A policeman looks on.
The sign in Hindi reads, “Down down Delhi Police”. Although the Delhi Police did manage to nab all the suspects, people criticised the response they gave to the media, and the use of force against the crowds at this protest.
Tear gas shells disperse crowds on the Raj Path in Delhi.
A Delhi Police man wearing a motorcycle helmet for protection.
A few protesters show the middle finger, while others walk with torches.
Protesters mock Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi. While the Delhi Police is not under her control (it is managed by the central Ministry of Home Affairs), she was criticized for her response to the media. In the past, she controversially said that women shouldn’t venture out in the night for their safety.
NOTE: InPEC does not endorse the use of such a possibly deliberate mis-spelling of the Chief Minister’s name in order to mock her. However, we believe it was important to display this photograph as it shows the extent to which a few protesters are ready to go in their dislike of the government.
Arvind Gaur, a theatre personality and activist addresses the crowd.
Brinda Karat, a Member of Parliament of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) among the protesters.
The sign in Hindi reads “monstrosity deserves death by hanging” (non-literal translation).
A protester on a pole with the North Block with the Ministry of Home Affairs in the background. The sign below is of a black dot on a white board. This sign was used on social media as profile pictures as a way to protest and raise awareness of the Delhi gang rape.
A police barricade at the Raisina Hill, with the Parliament in the far background.
The central government ministry buildings in the background.
A verbal confrontation between the protesters and a policeman.
Broken pieces of glass on the Raj Path.
A student carries a board by the AISA – the All India Students’ Association – which is an organization associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
Raghu Kalra is a Photographer doing his Masters in Convergent Journalism from Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi. He has been a photographer for over 8 years and specialises in Wide Field Astrophotography. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org