Students protesting against the Delhi gangrape in Chandigarh on Friday. Gurpreet Singh/HT
Rubina Singh, 24, founder of NGO Hollaback, on Friday, organised a campaign called ‘The Pledge Project’ to make Chandigarh safe for women. About the campaign, held at DAV College, Sector 10, she says, “Rapes take place when women threaten the patriarchal society. Ram Singh, the bus driver in the Delhi rape case, has reportedly said that he wanted to teach the girl a lesson for biting his hand.Rapes are no more a sexual assault but power struggle and crime. Lighting candles, holding placards and shouting slogans to get the government and police take action will not help. Police cannot be everywhere, but we can. Each one of us should take the responsibility to keep our cities safe. Everyone who will take this pledge with us will receive a ‘pledge card’ with emergency contact numbers for such situations. They will also receive a list of resources and ideas to safely intervene in harassment/rape incidents. There is so much that we, as a community, can do to stop crimes against women. We urge everyone to take this pledge with us.”
Around 250 people signed the pledge card on Friday. Today (Saturday), the campaign will be held at Books & Brew, Sector 16, and on Sunday at Books & Brew, Sector 38.
The Delhi incident has left boys equally disturbed. Kuljit Bains, 25, a student of MA police administration, who was part of one such candle march organised at midnight from Sector 17-18 signal to Matka Chowk, says, “Illiteracy could be one of the reasons behind rapes. Loopholes in law and no strict punishment for rapists make it easier for people to commit it. They are not scared.”
Another protest march by a group of girls from MCM DAV College was organised in Sector 36 on Friday. Though the march was planned to proceed through Sectors 35, 37, 38, the police did not allow the same. Nimrat Narang, who was a part of it, shares, “It’s girls’ duty to raise voice against such crime. Boys are usually complacent in such cases. But if the system lacks concern and laws are not stringent, at least we have to raise our voice. Whether anyone pays attention to it or not is a different thing.”
Expressing her views about reasons behind rapes, she says, “It’s the filth in men’s minds which leads to such situations. When a three-year-old is raped in a playpen and the rapist is the father of the girl, are ‘obscene clothes’ the provocation? Girls have the right to be out on roads even at night, no one has the right to touch them.”
Plaza, Sector 17, also saw a signature campaign by a city-based event manager, Pallavi Kakkar. “The 6x30-foot flex was virtually ‘raped’ by comments full of anger. However, nothing concrete has shaped up as to what exactly should be done to stop such incidents. It’s just the rage which is palpable, most of us are not coming up with measures to prevent it,” says the 24-year-old.
Radio Jockey SP, who shifted his base to Noida a year back, says, “When I was moving to Noida, I was concerned about finding a safe place since I have my mother, daughter and wife in the family. Delhi has never been safe for women; this case has once again highlighted the fact. The skewed sex ratio in our country is also leading to rapes. The government should also make prostitution legal. Also, women should keep basic things in mind: they should not hesitate to call 100, should save the SHO’s number in their phone etc.”