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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Lucknow Red Brigade girls have a worldwide fan following

Richa Srivastava, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, September 16, 2013
First Published: 10:30 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:37 IST(16/9/2013)

They first broke barriers at home and now, their popularity has transcended national boundaries.

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Red Brigade, Lucknow’s young group of fighters, is a popular group worldwide.

The group, comprising girls who have been victims of sexual abuse at home and on the streets, has more than a dozen articles, documentaries and radio programmes made on them in various parts of the globe.

There have been some live chat shows in which the girls were made to participate from India.

A self-defence trainer from London came to give free training to the Red Brigade and offered them jobs as trainers in her world-renowned self-defence institute.

Not just this, the g roup also has i nvitations f rom Australia, US, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy for which passport and paper work is on.

Leader of the group Usha Vishwakarma, 25, says, “We had been working for our rights within our locality Madiaon for a couple of years. But when we moved on the streets after the Delhi gang rape, people began to look at us as fighters.”

Articles on the group were carried in newspapers and news channels in India highlighted the story of courage of 20 odd young girls who dared to fight for their rights after being abused by their near and dear ones.

The news channels, newspapers, journals, magazines and radio channels from other countries too approached the Red Brigade to cover their story and to highlight the condition of women in India through their stories.

Australian Brodcast Corporation ABC and German TV ARD made a documentary on Red Brigade. The others include The Guardian in UK, UAE’s daily newspaper ‘The National’ and BBC London.

“We had not realised that our lives would change like this. So many people from so many countries have come to us. They have stayed with us for days and made films/articles on our valour,” said Usha.

Notably, all the girls of the Red Brigade hail from very humble backgrounds. Majority includes daughters of daily wage labourers. Some even have the burden of their families on their own shoulders.

Usha says, “We asked them as to what was so unique about us that was drawing people f rom f ar of f places t o our slum? Many of them said that while India had always been known for its pathetic conditions, poverty and poor state of women,Red Brigade was seen as a group that dared to change the common notion. So they came to us.”


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