New Delhi: Sometimes, even getting lawmakers to pass a bill needs an organiser.
The movement to get the Rajya Sabha to pass the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2015, yesterday was no different.
From strategising every night to mobilising support through social media, the parents of the December 16 gang-rape victim did everything to further their cause.
"There was so much anger with the imminent release of the juvenile that we had to rally all the support we could. We got people from different areas involved with the cause. From (RSS student wing) ABVP to social workers and professionals, all helped us," said Badrinath, the victim's father.
Indeed, his team included event managers, ABVP leaders, someone to handle social media and women's rights activists who worked closely with him and his wife, Asha Devi, to rally support for the bill, which allowed juveniles aged 16 to 18 to be tried as adults for heinous crimes.
All of them said it was a "cause" they believed in, seeing the "pain" of the parents.
Raj Kumar Anuragi, who played a key role in the movement, recalled the frenetic days. "I came in touch with them (the parents) at an event in honour of their daughter some years back. The father spoke to me and asked for my help. With my experience, I thought I would be an asset for them. I used my network to organise the protest rallies and even helped them meet people who would support them," said Anuragi, who has an event management company in Palam in the National Capital Region called Welcome Events.
Anuragi, 32, is from Bihar. He is also the general secretary of the Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust formed after the victim's death. It helped that both Anuragi and Badrinath spoke Bhojpuri fluently. This was, however, Anuragi's first foray into managing a social cause.
Badrinath and Anuragi both conceded that their protest rallies at India Gate, Jantar Mantar and in front of the juvenile home in north Delhi where the minor convict was held wouldn't have been successful without the help of the RSS's student wing.
"We used Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to get in touch with our student activists. We managed to keep the momentum going for the last five-six days," said ABVP leader Saurabh Sharma, 24, joint secretary, Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union.
"We have members across Delhi and asked every area leader to call on students in those areas," said Sharma, who coordinated with Anuragi on where to meet for the protests and plan the day ahead.
It was the student wing that facilitated the meeting of the victim's parents with BJP seniors, including minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, in the run-up to the bill's passage.
"We realised that we couldn't push for the bill unless we met Opposition leaders, too, to convince them," said Badrinath, on his meeting with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi yesterday.
Akashdeep, a former activist of the NSUI, the Congress's student wing, appears to have facilitated the meeting with Rahul. "I have experience from my days as a political activist and I used that to help the parents," the 26-year-old, who runs a music school in the capital, said.
"We met every night around 11pm (in the parents' house) and planned for the next day. One from our group even used Facebook to upload photos and information on our activities. It was all planned and that is why, today, the JJ Act has been passed. It was also our plan to get the father and the mother to the Rajya Sabha to ensure that the MPs saw the parents."
But it is Anuragi, the event manager, who has always been by their side. Even yesterday at the Rajya Sabha when the bill was passed.