On The day the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered authorities to “immediately stop all protests at Jantar Mantar”, the capital’s official protest site saw hundreds gather to protest the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. Slogans, songs and speeches resonated in the air as Jantar Mantar “veterans” looked on.
But the Lankesh protest was not the only one on Thursday afternoon. About 10 Tamil Nadu farmers, clad in green loincloths, sat in protest demanding loan waivers as droughts and a cyclone ruined their crops this year.
Next to a patch of “garden” that they have created inside the enclosure on the road, some slept, while others spoke to those protesting for Lankesh.
Metres away, an almost-empty stage demands Gorkhaland. While hundreds from across the country raised their voices for a separate state in July, on Thursday, only a few sat in silence.
Of the regulars are ex-servicemen and their families demanding full implementation of OROP (One Rank One Pension).
For respite, many stand near kiosks that serve tea, aloo-kachori, cold water, beverages and a steady supply of cigarettes.
Next to one such kiosk is the camp of Juta Mar Baba, who heads the uniquely titled “Akhil Bhartiya Juta Maro Andolan” to fight corruption. A “Jantar Mantar veteran”, he has been here for more than a decade.
On the same pavement sat an anti-alcohol protester, with a makeshift bar comprising bottles of liquor, sans liquor.
Of many unique individuals who roam Jantar Mantar was a man with a “Main Zinda Hoon” poster. Santosh Murat Singh, in his 30s, has been protesting to prove he is alive after his relatives allegedly performed his last rites a few years ago when he married a Dalit girl.