A student leader collects donations in Dhanbad on Thursday for a convention in Delhi later this month. Picture by Gautam Dey
The Nirbhaya rape on December 16, 2012, shook the nation’s conscience, but not enough has been done, feel student leaders, a year after her death.
Around 200 student leaders from Jharkhand and Bihar took to the streets in Dhanbad on Thursday, demanding why violence against girls continues unabated despite tougher anti-rape laws.
Under All India Mahila Sanskritik Sangathan, All India Democratic Youth Organisation and All India Democratic Students Organisation, the students launched the Dhanbad chapter of campaign based on their five-point demand charter aimed at curbing sexual assault.
Their quintet of demands comprises ban on online, ad and film pornography, restricted sale of liquor, full implementation of Justice Verma Commission recommendations, stringent execution of anti-rape laws and compulsory self-defence classes for schoolgirls.
On Friday, student leaders would demonstrate before the governor’s house of each state, national vice-president of All India Democratic Youth Organisation Deepak Kumar said.
Kumar, who supervised the campaign, said they were also collecting funds to host a convention and demonstration in Delhi on December 29 and 30 in Nirbhaya’s memory.
“Our aim is simple. We want society to change holistically so that women and girls feel and are safe. This can only happen with an overhaul on all fronts,” Kumar said.
Student leaders campaigned at Bank More, Hirapur, Luby Circular road, Police Line, Karmik Nagar, Station Road, Katras and other areas in a bid to generate support for their demands.
Kumar added campaigners were out with “begging bowls”.
“We are stopping people on roads, telling them what we want the government to do to ensure a safe environment for women and girls. While explaining our five charter of demands, we are also asking them to help us with small donations for our mass programmes in Delhi in Nirbhaya’s memory,” he said.
Kumar said the need of the hour was to wean youths away from vulgar images online, in ads and films, as well as stop them from falling into the traps of alcoholism and addiction. “Easy access to all these is making youths morally corrupt,” he said.
He added that Justice Verma Commission report was a comprehensive one, focussing on almost all aspects of safety for women. “When anti-rape laws were made tougher this year, why couldn’t all the recommendations be included?” he asked. “Justice J.S. Verma’s panel submitted a 630-page report in a record 29 days. We should also act fast to stop violence against women.”
“As a girl, it takes a lot of courage to campaign on the road on topics like these. But I am doing this simply because I want no more Nirbhayas to suffer,” student leader Purnima Kumari said.