Sunday, December 3, 2023

On Children’s Day, hundreds in Indian cities read names of Gaza children killed by Israel

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Hundreds across India came together on Children’s Day, November 14, in both physical and online meetings to read the names of Palestinian children killed by Israel, showcasing a resounding display of solidarity with Palestinians.

Over 4650 children were killed in the Israeli bombardments since 7 October.

This solidarity action arose on social media, where an emerging group of educators, artists, doctors, executives, entrepreneurs, students and others came together to form a citizen collective called The Solidarity Movement.

In 11 cities—Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, Kannur, Calicut, Kolkata, and Pondicherry—citizens gathered in small groups, dressed in black, to solemnly recite the names of the children of Gaza, honoring their memory in a spirit of solidarity and prayer.

“To take the time to say each child’s name who was not able to live a full life was a remarkable testament to the stand taken by ‘We the People’ of India, in expressing solidarity with Palestine, amidst the deafening complicity of a majority of world leaders. The decision to convene on this Children’s Day serves as a poignant reflection on the enduring challenges posed by Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and the resulting assault on innocents which has reached a fever pitch since October 7, 2023,” read a press note by the organisers.

While the gatherings took place in 11 cities, organisers said, two other cities namely Pune and Bangalore clamped down on the solidarity gatherings.

The organisers said: “Bangalore faced the harshest pushback from law enforcement, in what appears to be a repeating pattern in the city police force’s response to displays of solidarity with Palestine. On Tuesday morning, just like in the other cities, people came wearing black-coloured clothes intending to grieve for all the children who have been killed in Gaza. Seeing the large number of deployed police officials, they decided to avoid gathering in any capacity, and did not even sit in small groups as planned to read the names of children who were killed. Despite this, police officials wielding lathis approached individuals who were simply walking wearing black, questioned why they had come to the Lalbagh gardens, photographed them, took down their names, and photos of their ID cards. Police continued to intimidate the attendees even after they dispersed, by following them outside of the venue, and filming them.”

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