Hyderabad adds its voice to nationwide rape protests - The New Indian Express

Hyderabad adds its voice to nationwide rape protests

Published: 23rd December 2012 10:13 AM

Last Updated: 23rd December 2012 10:13 AM

In an echo of the protests in Delhi against the brutal rape of a 23-year old girl in a public transport bus, more than 1,000 protestors gathered at Indira Park here on Saturday morning to add their voice to the demand for strict action against rape convicts. Men, women, students, homemakers and many others from various walks of life covered their faces with a black cloth and held a silent protest against the attack.

“This protest is to express our solidarity with the rape survivor,” said K Satyavati, chief functionary of the NGO Bhumika Women’s Collective, and editor of Bhumika, a feminist magazine.

Although it was a silent protest initially, feelings ran high. “Our main demand is that rapes should be curbed immediately, not just in Delhi, but in Hyderabad and in every other city,” said Satyavathi.

Added Ruby Sharma, a second-year graduate student: “I travel alone late at night everyday. If it can happen in Delhi, it can happen here. We won’t stop till we are assured of safety.”

R Prashant, a student of SV Degree College, strongly condemned the incident in Delhi. “It’s not just one girl getting raped. It’s about women’s safety. As a brother and as a friend of so many girls, I want men too to join this protest against this loathsome crime,” he said.

Satyavathi explained that rape incidence is high in India because children are not exposed to the idea of women’s equality during their education. “Feminism has to be included in the curriculum. We demand that fast-track courts be set up to deal with the existing cases,” she added.

However, she was opposed to the death penalty for criminals convicted of rape. Asked why, she answered, “No one has the right to take a life. Hence we are against the death sentence.”

Sana Ahmed, a 23-year-old student of Osmania University, fumed, “Nights belong to girls too, not just men. Why is that only men can go out at night and not women? This culture of roads being unsafe for girls has to stop.”

She and her friends said that of late Hyderabad too has become unsafe for girls in the late evenings. “It’s not about feminism. It is about every single girl or woman. Even five-year-old are being raped. What does that point to?” asked Sana’s friend Renuka Choudhry.

“We condemn the attack on protesters at India Gate by the police in Delhi today. As students of Osmania University, we will march on the streets to keep them safe. If the government fails to ensure safety to girls, we will have to take matters into our hands,” said Krishank Manne, a student leader in the Osmania University Students Joint Action Committee.

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