On 8th March 2013, thousands of women came onto the streets in New Delhi and voiced their demands to the government and expressed their anger against the lack of safety and security for women across the country from Kashmir to Manipur and other parts as well.
Women from numerous women’s organisations along with individual men and women marched alongside one another. The march started from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar and slogans like “An attack on one is an attack on all!”, “Implement the findings of the Justice Verma Committee!”, “power in the hands of the people, end to oppression and violence”. Boys and girls sang songs on equality and end to oppression of the market economy. They demanded prosperity of all and end to all forms of violence against Human Rights.
It was refreshing and motivating to find many young men and women expressing their questions and demanding their answers as one. This was not about sympathy, but about the understanding that we as men, women, workers, and children are all oppressed and only by standing by one another, we can make changes.
At Jantar Mantar a stage was set up where large banners of various organisations adorned the cloth walls. Songs, speeches and plays were presented. Women from more than 14 organisations spoke to the gathering. Lok Raj Sangathan also participated in the march with large numbers of men and women.
Renu from Purogami Mahila Sangathan spoke about the fact that the laws in our country do not consider the safety of men or women. She spoke of the demand that justice cannot be denied to the women, which has been the situation so far. Day in and day out the woman of our country is getting more politicised and this is a welcome sign. She said that violence against women can be ended, those who govern us want us to believe that this possible by using the existing set-up and institutions, but every woman knows that the institutions meant for providing justice in this country are guilty of condemning the woman and destroying lives in the most disturbing of ways. A woman today cannot trust the police, the judicial system or the politicians who claim to be the defenders of the rights of the people. She said that unless men and women struggle together, changes will not occur and that coming together like today is an important step in the way forward.
Sehba Farooqui of IDWA talked about accountability from the top. That our politicians have a lot to answer. Kavita Krishnan saluted the struggle of women from all across the country and talked about the brave women of Kudankolam. She said that the demand is ‘Justice’. Rajpal of NSFI said that those who govern us have simply become better at making empty promises and deceiving the people.
The day was one of energy and the promise that coming together to fight for our rights and demand justice was the only way forward.
LRS New Delhi Correspondent