Citizens protest against sexual assault, gender bias

Citizens protest against sexual assault, gender bias

Representative Image

Bengaluru residents from various quarters on Sunday staged a protest condemning the gangrape and murder of a veterinarian, Disha (name changed), in Hyderabad.

More than 300 people gathered at the Town Hall to stage the protest, called #NirbhayaDishaMe. Among the protesters were film artists, women entrepreneurs and representatives of various women empowerment organisations who were joined by several others. The protesters expressed condemnation on issues like gender discrimination and sexual assault on women.

They demanded the establishment of fast-track courts across the country with dedicated judges, emergency helplines with guaranteed response time, 33% reservation in the police force as mandated and several others to ensure a Hyderabad-like incident is not repeated.

Helpless feeling

“The daily news of sexual assaults against women makes us feel helpless,” said Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder, Shakti-Political Power to Women, and a member of Citizens for Bengaluru.

“It is the citizen protest against the 2012 Nirbhaya case and the Bhanwari Devi case that brought changes to the rape laws and norms to prevent sexual harassment at workplace,” Tara noted.

Brinda Adige, director, Global Concerns, spoke about the challenges in filing police complaints for rape or sexual assault of any nature, where delaying tactics or citing jurisdictional boundaries are quite common.

“As taxpaying citizens, women must demand that police should support the complainant by law and rightful duty. They must guarantee that the complaint is filed at the right place,” Brinda said.

“The government is here to serve us. They must ensure services converge and reach citizens seamlessly.” 

Social activist Meera Mukund, who for several years trained BMTC drivers and conductors in gender sensitisation, said women and girls who get harassed on public transport “must shout”.

The group froze mobs to illustrate how women respond to sexual harassment on the road.

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