On International Women’s Day, women groups in Delhi marched demanding rights and an end to oppression, joined by hundreds of ordinary women. Staging a march from Connaught Place to Jantar Mantar the protesters demanded an end to “patriarchy, hierarchy, violence and silence”. At a time when a high-profile stalking case of a Chandigarh woman by the son of a BJP legislator has taken the country by storm, the protesters demanded that the country and its government listen more closely to the needs of half of its citizens.
The march was led by students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) and women’s organisations like Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Sama, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre. Borrowing from the lexicon of previous civil rights protests, the marchers demanded “aazadi from patriarchy”. Placards of “Shareer hamara, izzat tumhari?”, “aadhi aabadi nahi poori azaadi” were seen everywhere as the protesters stressed that they wanted women’s rights as a corollary to all citizens’ rights.
The organisers spoke about a range of issues affecting women in the country, from education rights to the question of living under a militarised regime. The tribal rights activist Soni Sori spoke at length about the abuse tribal women continued to suffer at the hand of the government and the issue found resonance with the more urban members of the march. As the police continues to struggle to explain if it shield the accused in the stalking and attempted abduction of the woman in Chandigarh, questions about how the police handles violence against women and women’s rights were the focus today. Protesters sang songs and staged skits and slogans of “Long live International Womens Day” were heard throughout at Jantar Mantar.
— Stop Mob Lynching (@StopMobLynching) August 9, 2017
— Niketa (@nikaytaa) January 21, 2017