Several women, activists and lawyers who were staging protests against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi were detained by the Bengaluru police on Thursday. The protesters, who were staging a silent protest at Mysore Bank Circle, were corralled into police vans and were taken to Halasuru gate traffic police station. According to the protesters present at the spot, the police detained them merely minutes after they had reached.
“They were waiting in full strength. I was one of the first to arrive and had a placard with me. While the rest were walking up to the venue, the cops said we couldn't display placards; they told a policewoman to grab my placard and bundled me into the police van,” activist and journalist Cynthia Stephens, who was one of the 26 people detained by the police, told TNM.
Protesting against Judges violating the law, fighting to implement the law can get you detained in India these days. pic.twitter.com/6JysJ8pm0u— vinaysreenivasa ವಿನಯ (@vinaysreeni) May 9, 2019
Cynthia shares that the police detained them stating that they did not have permission to stage protests at the spot. However, she shares that they had submitted a letter of intimation to the concerned police station before the protests. The activists were released about an hour later.
The silent protest was being held against the clean chit given to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in the sexual harassment case and to express solidarity with the complainant who had levelled the charges. This was the second protest held in Bengaluru, on Tuesday evening, many people had gathered at Mud Tank in Bengaluru’s Richmond Town to stage a silent protest against the CJI.
Protests have been announced across cities in India against the dropping of the charges against the CJI and the manner in which the in-house inquiry was conducted into the sexual harassment charges. In New Delhi, the protests were held for the third day since the Justice SA Bobde-headed in-house panel of the Supreme Court, which was looking into the charges of sexual harassment against CJI Gogoi, dismissed the allegations, stating that there was no substance to the allegations.
Several organisations and women’s collectives have protested against the CJI and the panel demanding that a fresh probe be launched into the allegations and the inquiry process follow the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act as well as the Visakha Guidelines.
The complainant, a former Supreme Court staffer, had submitted a sworn affidavit to 22 judges on April 19, accusing CJI Gogoi of sexually harassing her on two occasions in October 2018. The CJI has denied the charges, claiming that the allegations were a part of a ‘larger threat to the judiciary.’