I had written about Piyush Manush yesterday, and many of you from across the world have shared it, reacted to it, and more importantly, signed the petition or sent mails. Thank you.
For those of us who can’t be part of the activities on the ground, it will be great to keep sustained pressure online to ensure: Piyush is not assaulted in prison anymore, he gets bail during the next hearing on Tuesday, action is taken against those who assaulted him, and nobody else who stands up for a good cause has to go through this again.
I had gone for the planning meeting held at Salem today. There must have been over 200 people from all over Tamilnadu, who had assembled there at hardly a few hours notice.
A coupe of important action items that can be done by any of us online:
1. A green campaign (as requested by Piyush): Plant a sapling, take a snap and post it on FB and Twitter, with the hashtag #StandWithPiyush
2. A Twitter campaign on Monday, 18th July: Tweet your opinions on this issue (from 10 am India time) with the same hashtag – #StandWithPiyush
A couple of moments from the meeting that hit me hard:
1. Monika, Piyush’s wife, spoke movingly about her horrible experience of meeting Piyush in a bad state in the prison and how he managed to convey to her in Hindi (amidst stiff objection from the police escorts) that he was beaten up. She came back to say that after Piyush is back, he WILL continue his activism till the last.
2. Senthil, a friend from Bangalore, asked a most uncomfortable question: If Piyush was outside and someone else had been arrested and abused, would we be even having this meeting in a closed room instead of being on the road protesting or doing something? I think not. But nevertheless, in whatever small ways, hope all these make a difference.
My opinion was that apart from all the online activity, it is critical that members from Salem Citizen’s Forum continue with various activities at Salem. Not all of them need to protest. But they can gather in large numbers at the lovely Mookeneri lake (which has been revived by them), and plant saplings or clean the lake. That will be a powerful way to show the authorities that people of Salem are in solidarity with Piyush, and they will continue to do the activities initiated by him, even in his absence. Everyone from students to elders can be part of it, just as before.
Meanwhile, let us do all we can, online or offline.
(On the photo: Piyush during one of his cleansing acts. Most people who know him will certify that this is no photo-op pose.)