Sunday, June 10, 2012

Protesting against internet censorship - Hyderabad

Why Protest ? 

  • Blockage of internet sites
  • Plan to introduce new ways of curbing internet freedom
  • Amendment of copyright law to introduce censorship 

Where ?

The proposed place by Anonymous and Free Software Movement of India  for the protest was peoples plaza , Necklace Road in the centre of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad . Later our venues did change ;)

How we started :

  I reached that place to find a group standing on the footpath and found out that they are from Anonymous and they had masks with them and some posters .

 People are yet to come , and we kind of asked where the others are . We were shown that there is another group down  at the parking place
Walked slowly to find the swecha group , notably happy to meet Sunil Mohan after many years . I kind of told how we organised some gimp telugu events and plan/efforts to create telugu gnome glossary . He admitted that it was hard . 

Swecha did bring out some cool goodies in form of Tshirts and posters hand drawn by volunteers in contrast to the Anonymous printed posters . Also was glad to meet Srikar  who came from Bangalore .Me and praveen went for a small walk around and found that police have approached anonymous and were trying to stop them from protesting . I was asked by one of them to bring both groups together and approach the police unitedly . Back in swecha group after exchanging pleasantries I was ale to meet Kiran Chandra and discussed the situation between those two groups and police . He pointed me out to the FSMI page on protest  and the reasons why were doing it . As we moved ahead with our posters , I had choosen a poster with swecha written in "telugu" which was later stolen by a girl lol .  Well the argument with police which was to come did turn out to be quite long and it did unite the Anonymous and swecha groups to an extent . I was lucky enough to find neenaoffline in the anonymous group thatnks to that as the arguments went on I was catching up with neenaoffline who is now doing his google summer of code.

Police arguments : 

  • No protest is to be done without permission
  • You need permission to stay as a group
  • Even if you separate you must remove your Tshirts and posters
  • We will take your Tshirts and posters !!
  • We have allocated a special place for bandhs and dharnas and even for that you have to get a permission 
Those above arguments did irritate the crowd and the some of our teams did bring out some good reasons on freedom or right to protest which definitely fell to the  deaf ears of police who were unrelenting .  The police even shouted at anonymous group very loudly  in a fiercely manner so that everyone removed their masks . Around the end of the argument did meet old swecha buddies like Kiran baddi , sandeep , divya and medhamsh who just reached the venue .

Final judgement by police : 

We are allowed to protest at the Bandh chowk near indira park . We should be following the police jeep . Even there we were to be monitored and allocated a  particular time limit so as that we protest in that stipulated place and time frameworks defined by the police . 

The Movement starts !!

Here we embark on a exciting charged up journey  to indira park with guys and girls on bikes . As if to interest us or to provoke us by their rules and regulations we did make some extra rounds like one near the imax circle and all the way round turn on main tankbund to reach the lower tankbund region of Indira park instead of going below the telugu talli flyover .
                We started out coolly with all the anonymous and swecha posters coming out high from their folded avatars and we went with  a driver on bike with protest posters by the pillion rider , those who haven't any posters( my bike ) collected from others who were travelling in a group .

 We went on very excited as we reached tankbund instead of going through lower tankbund which was a cool thing as we could show our group and as if we were escorted by police security lol

Down at the Bandh Ghat :

We started with our placards and slogans , we also were approached by the press who were curious to know about what was happening over there .

  We all formed a human chain and started with our slogans .

  • Say NO Internet Censorship
  • Bandwidth is our birthright
  • Listen sibal listen we wont keep quite

I liked these 3 slogans especially the 2nd one which has been my slogan all  of my techie life.

Swecha volunteers did a great job by giving voices by sharing and chanting the slogans all over the human chain . There were people who did observe us and were curious . They were given pamphlets about how govt is taking away our internet freedom .

Freedom Song and Conclusion :

After the Human Chain we all gathered at one place and as a group our slogans were more audible and press did take out some photographs .

Here is an article published in sakhi district edition  .

Freedom Song - Protest against Internet... by pavithrans
After that there was this exciting freedom song by a guitarist .  We all sang by him in the occupy style of singing .
We all sang on the lines "I want my freedom set me free "
I also could meet swecha volunteers like medhamsh and others  who were interested in my N900 and how debianised it is and I was surprised that they consider it as a smart phone .
 Kiran Chandra concluded by saying that this fight is not going to stop . He thanked everyone for attending the event including the police for their support ;)

Farewell to friends : 

Then farewell and a promise to neenaoffline after that more farewells and  also promised to meet sasi bhusan later . police were bugging us to leave so had to leave in midway of discussion . After that  had sugarcane juice with praveen with whom I went to his place  and had a lil chat with him .


రహ్మానుద్దీన్ షేక్ said...

so, the police dont seem to bother public concerns!

Praveen Illa said...

Police did great job, enjoyed :p

Baddi said...

Pavi, good job! Keep it up! Good narration and took me back to that day.

Listen, Sibal, Listen!
We wont keep quite!