Candles in hand, they will brave the Christmas chill, not to party but to “act as an alarm for the government”.
Shaken and “revolted from within” by the gang rape on a Delhi bus, students of city schools and colleges will take part in Light a Candle — A Silent Protest in front of MP Birla Planetarium at 5pm on Tuesday to “stir the dormant conscience of our society”.
“We are asking for stricter laws and safety for women in Delhi and across the country,” said Aman Golechha, a Class XII student at Calcutta Boys’ School (CBS) who created a Facebook page floating the idea of the protest.
Aman could be speaking for any of the hundreds and thousands of girls and women who leave their homes for work or study every day or their anxious parents. “The fear will remain. I don’t feel safe any more,” wrote Metro reader Richaa Agarwal.
“Is it too much to ask for safety?” asked another reader, Debalina Mitra Chanda, a “very worried mother of a six-year-old” haunted by “the monsters and molesters I imagine lurking behind the face of every stranger”.
Imran Zaki, who will join Tuesday’s protest meet with daughter Mariam, a Class XI student at La Martiniere for Girls, agrees. “I want my daughter to be able to go out freely. Why should I ask her to be back at 9? Safety and security are her rights. It is time India woke up.”
Joining the father and daughter will be students at CBS, Don Bosco, Park Circus, Modern High School for Girls, St. James’ School, La Martiniere for boys and girls, Calcutta Girls’ High School, Pratt Memorial School, Sushila Birla Girls’ School, Presidency University, St. Xavier’s College, Scottish Church College, Maulana Azad College and Asutosh College.
The Christmas date was deliberately chosen to create a greater impact even if that meant putting off celebrations or taking a break from preparing for exams. “Our pre-board exams resume on January 4 but it is more important to act as an alarm for the government than scoring a few extra marks,” said Srishti Mukherjee of Class XII at Modern High School.
Priyanjana Majumder finds such efforts “heartening”. “If nothing else, such movements will encourage a greater number of victims to raise their voice,” wrote the Metro reader and a St. Xavier’s College student. “It’s definitely a cause worth fighting for”.