The police arrested at least 40 protesters at the first Occupy Wall Street-style demonstration in Mumbai yesterday. The police said that the protesters were arrested for unlawful gathering.
Roughly 100 protesters raised placards and shouted slogans outside the Bombay Stock Exchange in an event organised by a union of bank employees opposed to privatisation of state-owned banks and plans to grant new bank licenses.
Demonstrators also spoke out against corruption, inefficient government and inequality. The number of protesters was roughly matched by members of the media.
Such a protest is required to shake up the complacency of the government, which gauges economic progress with the stock market, said protester Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. It should be hunger and starvation which should be looked at, he added.
The Occupy Wall Street movement began in September in the United States and has spread around the globe. The protests against the current state of capitalism have not so far caught on in fast growing India. Instead a mass movement fighting corruption caught the hearts and minds of millions.
There is an urgent need for transparency in economic decision-making to avoid scams. We are not saying 'Occupy Dalal Street'. Occupy every establishment which has marginalised the common man, said Sanjeev Khandekar, a 52-year-old painter, who heard about the protest on Facebook.