- January 27, 2013
- Posted by: admin
- Category: News
Protest outside the Indian High Commission on Republic day 2013
Over 80 people gathered today on India’s Republic day to express their solidarity with the women’s movement in India which poured onto the streets after the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old woman student on a bus in Delhi. In London today outside the Indian High Commission, protesters voiced their outrage at the scale of state violence and rape faced by women in India.
The slogans demanded justice for Soni Sori, an indigenous woman sexually assaulted by the Indian police where her torturer was given a police medal for gallantry on India’s Republic Day a year ago. There was also a call for justice for Aasiya Jan and Nilofer Jan, two Kashmiri women raped and murdered by the Central Reserve Police force in 2009. The placards demanded implementation of Justice Verma Commission’s recommendation of immediately removing immunity from prosecution for sexual crimes – the army, paramilitaries and the police. They also stated that ‘the SP of Dantewada Ankit Garg, responsible for the sexual torture of Soni Sori, must be stripped of the presidential gallantry award and punished’,along with SRP Kalluri another Chhattisgarh police officer responsible for rape and torture who was honoured this Republic Day. Amrit Wilson from South Asia Solidarity Group in her address to the gathering added some of the other demands – the recognition of rape in marriage, the prohibition of the ‘two-finger test’ for rape, and an end to sexual harassment at the workplace.
A number of groups came together – South Asia Solidarity Group, the Justice for Soni Sori group, the Indian Workers Association and Imkaan calling for an end to state violence and rape. Slogans included ‘Indian president – stop honouring rape’, ‘who raped Nilofer Jha – Indian military and Indian state’, ‘who raped Soni Sori – Indian police and India state’. Their voices of protest joined by Newham Asian Women’s project, Southall Black Sisters, Older Feminist Network, Iranian and Afghanistan Women’s group and others were heard by a number of passers-by who stopped to read the placards and listen to the slogans. There were many new faces not usually seen at these kinds of public events. Two young women with a placard saying ‘don’t tell us not to go out – tell your sons not to rape’ had taken the slogan from the protests in India ‘Don’t teach me what to wear – teach your sons not to rape’, and made it their own.
Writer and actor Meera Syal also addressed the gathering and stated ‘India claims to be a new superpower but look at the way it treats women. More important than being the best in IT is changing the way women are treated’. There were calls for keeping up the pressure and organising more events for protesting sexual violence against women which is taking place in India and Britain.