A billion will rise on the streets across India and the world on Valentine's Day to raise their voices against violence on women.
The campaign, One Billion Rising (OBR), aims at adding a missionary tinge to the usual fervour of exchanging gifts and expressing love on Valentine's Day, which will be celebrated on Thursday.
In Delhi, activists, students, sex workers and street vendors will gather in several parts and pass on the message through flash demonstrations, sit-ins, street plays, dance, songs.
One of the major venues on the radar of these people is Parliament Street. Apart from activists from various groups and a large number of women street vendors under the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) will join the action at Parliament Street.
Activist Kamla Bhasin, who is also the OBR coordinator for South Asia, said even after 60-odd years of Independence, women are not free by any means in our country. "Unless women are free, men won't be free," Bhasin said.
The campaigners will also be positioned at several busy Metro stations such as Kashmere Gate, Vishwavidyalaya, Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazar, New Delhi, Rajiv Chowk and Anand Vihar from 9.30am. They will distribute booklets with important numbers to call in case of an emergency and campaign ribbons.
At Najafgarh, in a bid to show solidarity with the campaign, sex workers under the banner of Apne Aap Women Worldwide will dance to mark their protest. "The girls, who hail from both Dharampur and Najafgarh, have prepared a Bhangra performance," one of the organisers said.
At Bawana, community leaders would march covering eight blocks of Bawana JJ Colony. At Miranda House, in Delhi University North campus, an inter-college street play competition and a rally to board public vehicles and reach Parliament Street has been organised.
At Seemapuri in east Delhi, around 1,000 people will assemble at Community Park to show solidarity. At Dwarka, Anhad, an NGO, along with IP University, National Law University and Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences are organising a protest. On Lady Shri Ram College campus, students of LSR and Kamla Nehru College are organising a day-long programme. A flash mob will be organised outside PVR Saket.
As a prelude to this global initiative, students and faculty of the Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women's Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia organised a public awareness drive on Wednesday.