Is the city any safer now, they ask

Activists gather two years after Dec 16

At Jantar Mantar, NGOs, youth organisations and women’s organisations and “not any political party/NGO” organisations met on Tuesday. 

They were bound by a common cause: if the city is any safer for women since the December 16 gang-rape, in which a young woman lost her life two years back.

There was also a tug-of-decibels in which civil society groups tried to outdo one another as they delivered speeches or sang songs,  with programmes going on simultaneously. But they were quick to rectify it.

Students from art colleges and activists got together to protest “lethargy” of the state in putting punitive measures in place through paintings. Besides abstract paintings, painters were seen using water colours on paper to bring out slogans like “Hang The Rapists”, “Rapists are like Cancer, Crush Them”.

‘16 December Kranti’, which claims to be a “not any political party/NGO” but a “Call for Rape Free India”, has only 50 members left now, said a youth.

“We used to assemble in thousands to protest the gang-rape in 2012. Now, only a motley group of 50 members are left. We want to take the issue forward,” a 25-year-old member of the group said. The group presented plays and songs to mark the event.
“We have listed our demands which we call the Damini (referring to the gang-rape victim) Laws. Fast-track courts should function effectively, marital rape should come under the ambit of rape and there should be zero-tolerance to sexual assault,” said a member.

Democratic Youth Federation of India and All India Democratic Women’s Association and  also presented cultural events to put across their message.

“The state is still not pressing in its resources to bring in changes. Why has the Justice Verma Committee report still not been implemented?” said Sharvani, an AIDWA member.

“People are talking about change. I want to ask you: Do you feel the change? It is obviously a no,” said Shakuntala Baudh, who had come from Sultanpuri, to attend the event.

Victims of acid attacks also listed out their demands at the spot. Stop Acid Attacks, an NGO, gave the platform to the victims to raise their voice. Specific budget should be allocated for victims of acid attacks to avail cosmetic changes, a member said.

Appreciating the courage shown by such victims, Brinda Karat, polit bureau member, CPI(M), at the DYFI event said the state has to implement stringent measures to put an end to incidents of sexual assault.

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