A Little Bit of Tear Gas for me, Your Average Weekend Protester!

By Mridula Dwivedi December 23, 2012 24 Comments , ,

The weekend protester that I am decided to go India gate today again. After all from tomorrow I will earn my daily bread! I was tweeting and knew that @db_DelAplha was also tweeting from there. Imagine my surprise that he turned out to be my friend from college and in all that crowd I met him as soon as I entered! We were together from the entire time.

Police near India Gate
Police near India Gate

As I walked in I saw these police men and like yesterday I could point my camera at them. They didn’t stop me. I started walking in to India Gate. Many metro stations were closed but Rajiv Chowk was open.

A Bit of Fire at India Gate
A Bit of Fire at India Gate

As soon as I walked a bit I saw this fire. There were three such fires going on and people chased away a fire brigade too. But these were small bonfires. And then a girl asked me for my mobile phone. While I gave to her my friend walked in and suddenly I realized the person I was exchanging tweets with I knew him too since a long time back. Imagine two tweeting people meeting in that crowd! What a coincidence.

Closer to India Gate it was All Peaceful
Closer to India Gate it was All Peaceful

As my friend had been there all day he said India Gate and its vicinity was an informal safe area and we stayed there for a while. I also saw a lot of people among the crowd telling others not to restore to violence otherwise the police will charge them. At times they were able to put some sense through.

Someone Posted a Note Near it!
Someone Posted a Note Near it!

Near this fire someone posted a notice later!

Water Canons Start at India Gate
Water Canons Start at India Gate

A little at a little distance towards Raisana Hill real action was. We went a little closer. And suddenly the water canons started and you can see that at a distance people were just standing. Water canons were at a distance. I was standing and without thinking too much I clicked a few pictures.

Within Two Minutes People Dispersed
Within Two Minutes People Dispersed

As soon as the water canons started people closer to the pitched scene started running in all directions. Within two minutes this was the scene, almost empty. Why lathi charge all the way then? My friend told me to say we were press if a policeman came near. We ran for a short distance and then we stood in a corner. Police came and an unknown gentleman in front of me showed his camera and said press. I said the same pointing to my camera. The police asked us to sit down.

The Media Van Behind which we Sat
The Media Van Behind which we Sat

Then the police came and asked the vendors to move and started cracking its lathi. So we went near this media van. By now tear gases were going all around. I don’t know how many shells I heard exploding. A father with his two year old was sitting with us. I had a duppata and a water bottle and it helps a lot in tear gas situation. Whoever had water passed it around to others. Soon others joined us and we must have been 10 strong all sitting down. In that chaos a little while later we realized that the father-kid had moved, there were a lot of ambulance I hope they got one. All this while I had no sense to use my camera. I did just one tweet. I was holding the duppata to my eye most of the time.

Then a group of policemen and policewomen came and asked us to move. We said where should we go as there is too much chaos. They said we will escort us out. One lady police also remaked, “aap bhi tou unhi logon ke sath baithte hain” (You also sit with them). I wonder who is this them?

The policeman below escorted us out. We shook hands with this policeman saying thank you.

This Policeman Escorted Us Out
This Policeman Escorted Us Out

I had seen someone picking up a stone and throw it back. We told him not to do that. But I wonder if I got a lathi myself would I not be tempted to throw a stone back? Not sure as I never got a lathi, just some tear gas.

I do not know what happened upfront when they started using water canon but I saw that the area was deserted within two minutes. I was close to the scene though not upfront. I am not that brave. The police continued to charge and use tear gas.

While walking out to get an auto, a little away from the scene, I told a policeman at the roundabout that I was a college teacher and you used tear gas at me! He lowered his eyes!

All my sympathies to people who got directly caught in the lathi charge and tear gas. I was luckier this time, I only got the tear gas.

But I am the weekend protester I go back to work tomorrow.

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24 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Tear Gas for me, Your Average Weekend Protester!”

  1. nobody want to throw stones or use violence but when.u r beaten without any cause u r tempted to f*ck.the sh*t out if them

  2. You are lucky indeed ! The policeman who helped you could not face you due to guilt. Then it is most unfortunate for this Gandhiji’s nation with impatient and cowardly leaders hiding behind Z-security and using all their might to suppress all kinds of peoples’ protests much worse than even the Britishers ! Instead of using police for crime detection and prevention, the neo Indian leaders want them to be used as brute force against the people ! How far they go like this ?

  3. Hi Mridula,

    It’s good to hear first hand accounts of people who actually went to the scene to support the cause. I must admire the fact that you have quite a lot of courage going there, in such a tense situation. The cause is certainly bolstered by individuals who, even if for the weekend, take out time to support this cause rather than catching up with a movie. Good going. keep it up.


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Travel Tales from India & Abroad

I am Mridula Dwivedi and I started blogging on 'Travel Tales from India' in June 2005. I renamed it Travel Tales from India & Abroad in 2016. Within a few months of the launch my travel blog found a mention on both the BBC and The Guardian. I also featured in a National Geographic Skoda Yeti Video. I was recently featured on Via.com

I quit my job as a professor in May 2015. I am having a blast ever since. I do not miss my work but sometime I do miss my salary! Somewhere along the journey I ended up acquiring a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur! I now wonder why?

You can write to me at mridulablog at gmail dot com For advertising queries please check out my advertising page.

Logo image credit Shutterstock.

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