Yesterday’s nation-wide shutdown, which was called by protesters in New Delhi, received lukewarm response from the people across the country. The bandh was called to demand justice for the 23-year-old girl who was raped and assaulted by six men in a moving bus in the national Capital on December 16.
It appears that the protesters’ decision not to heed any political party and join the shutdown, left an effect on the bandh. Schools, colleges, offices and shops remained open in the city as usual.
When asked about the reason for staying away from the shutdown, NCP MP Vandana Chavan said, “Everyone is concerned about the victim and the entire country is demanding justice for her. Calling for a bandh is not the solution to the problem.”
Interestingly, Chavan’s party has called for a bandh in Pune, Sangli and Beed in November 2011, after Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was slapped by a person in Delhi. Likewise, the NDA and the Left parties had called for nation-wide shutdown on issues like inflation and FDI three times in the past one year.
When contacted, Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe tried to avoid commenting on the issue, “The bandh wasn’t called by my party,” she said. The leaders of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too stayed away from the bandh. “It’s not a solution. We didn’t even like the idea of a ‘blackout’, as yesterday was the birth anniversary of social reformer Savitribai Phule,” said National Executive member of AAP Subhash Ware.
Speaking to MiD DAY, political scholar Nitin Birmal said, “Political parties participate in such campaigns/movements if they have some vested interest.
Meanwhile, majority of the city youngsters weren’t even aware that it was bandh yesterday. TYBCom student Shraddha Deokar said, “As there are so many unnecessary bandhs called by political parties, people turn a blind eye towards a genuine causes as well.”
While another student Ashish Patil said that calling a bandh to pressurise the government to change a law doesn’t work. “The government seems serious in its approach to making strict laws to ensure such incidents do not happen again,” he said.