2020 was unsettling for several reasons: the onset of the pandemic, the large-scale injustices imposed upon people, and the overall adjustment to the “new normal”. But despite it all, India found a way to break through and make its resistance unmissable! Let’s take a look at some of these acts of resistance as we wrap up the year with new hope. This is not an exhaustive list.
1. Anti CAA-NRC Dissent: 2020 witnessed nation-wide protests against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens, which, in combination, threatened the citizenship status of Indian Muslims.
2. Migrant Workers’ Protest: With the spread of COVID-19 in India, the country experienced one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world. Migrant workers protested as they were left without work and money, stranded far from their homes.
3. The Trans Act Draft Rules: The revised draft Transgender Persons (Protection of Rules), 2020 were published on July 13 amid the growing number of Covid-19, making it difficult for trans people to mobilise, discuss and respond to the draft, yet several trans people and activists resisted both online and offline against the draft rules.
4. Justice for Jayaraj and Bennix Protest: The father-son duo of Jayaraj (59) and Bennix (31) was brutalised by Sathankulam police reportedly for keeping their shop open slightly beyond the permitted time. Protests sparked across Tamil Nadu condeming their custodial deaths.
5. Free Political Prisoners Campaign: Several protests sprouted in India fighting for justice for political prisoners who voiced dissent against the Indian government in varying capacities. These included journalists, students, academics etc. who were charged under draconian laws which specifically target those who challenge the State.
6. The Draft EIA Notification 2020: The new draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification arrived in the midst of a global pandemic, and diluted several environmental regulations necessary for protecting the environment. Protests erupted against the draft EIA 2020 for being anti-environment and anti-people.
7. Hathras Gangrape Protests: After the rape of a 19-year old Dalit woman by 4 upper-caste Thakur men, and the cremation of the body in the absence of the family, protests sparked in India resisting caste and gender based violence and the abysmal handling of the case by the police.
8. Anti Farm Bills Protest: Large masses of farmers and supporters started the #DilliChallo farmers’ protests resisting the 3 anti-farm bills which threaten to put farmers in a vulnerable position against large corporations with exploitative potential.
9. Institutional Murder of an LSR Student: Students and women’s rights groups staged protests in Delhi after the institutional murder of student Aishwarya Reddy from LSR college, as she did not have the means to continue her education virtually. The responsible factors identified for this were the digital divide and denial of timely scholarship.