UN Women withdrew from all-women yatras under pressure?

The campaign seeks to raise the issue of politicisation of religion where fringe elements decide the choices of women, be it the right to dress, speak, write and eat, among others. (Reuters File Photo. For representation only)

Five "all women yatras" by women's organisations against growing intolerance and government's "inaction" has run into trouble with the UN Women withdrawing from the event "at the last minute"

The UN Women had promised to sponsor the activists' travel across the country.

Some of the activists claimed the UN Women, which conveyed the decision to them on Monday, was under pressure from the Narendra Modi government to withdraw from the countrywide 'Baatein Aman Ki (Weaving Lives Together) Yatras' from Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir), Jorhat (Assam), Kasargod (Kerala), Delhi and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) to withdraw from the event.

When asked about the decision, a UN Women spokesperson told DH, "No comments".

Accusing the Modi government of trampling the constitutional rights of women in the past four years, the activists' groups had planned the five 'yatras' from September 22 to culminate in the national capital on October 13. The first yatra will be flagged from Delhi on Thursday while the others will start in the next two days.

Activists said UN Women in India had promised to provide vehicles for all the five 'yatras' and began making arrangements. However, they claimed, late last week the organisation first informed about providing vehicles for only three 'yatras' due to a fund crunch as they were also involved in Kerala-flood relief activities.

On Monday, the activists said that they were informed by UN Women in India about withdrawing from the event. They said initially the organisation was so keen about the event that they were even suggesting to rope in tennis player Sania Mirza and others into the programme at some point of time.

"It is an obvious guess that there was pressure. We were told there was pressure to withdraw," National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) leader Annie Raja, one of the organisers, told DH.

ANHAD's Shabnam Hashmi said they were "definitely going ahead" with the programme. "Yes, we will have loans to repay at the end of our programme," she said.

The 'yatras' will not just focus on sexual violence against women but encompass subjects like farmers' distress, ill-effects of demonetisation, the changing contours of public health and communalism, and the activists want these issues to be the talking point ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections.

The campaign also seeks to raise the issue of politicisation of religion where fringe elements decide the choices of women, be it the right to dress, speak, write and eat, among others.

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UN Women withdrew from all-women yatras under pressure?

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