Thousands of women on Wednesday marched silently from Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg (ITO) to Rajghat, demanding justice for the 23-year-old gangrape victim and increased security for women in the Capital.
From homemakers to students, to senior citizens, women from all walks of life braved the winter chill to participate in the 'Mahila Suraksha Samman March' organised by the Delhi Commission for Women.
The march was flagged off by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
As the protesters started off from Bal Bhavan at 11.15am, the march drew the attention of Maulana Azad Medical College students who decided to skip their classes and join the cause.
Protesters raised the issue of the juvenile accused getting away with lesser punishment and demanded stricter laws for them. "A student of our college was raped in 2002 and two of the accused were able to get away with less severe punishment as they were minors. When we saw the protesters, we decided to join them as one of the accused in the recent case is a minor," said Shafaat Ahmad, a first-year MBBS student.
Dikshit was flanked by her cabinet colleagues, her parliamentary secretary Mukesh Sharma, Minister of Women and Child Development Kiran Walia, chairperson Delhi Commission for Women Barkha Singh and a number of MLAs at Rajghat.
A number of women who participated in Wednesday's protests were from government-run anganwadis, colleges, NGOs etc. "We were informed about the protest by our supervisor and we decided to take part," said Asha, who was joined with several other workers from an anganwadi.
"The situation has deteriorated in the past few years. It is time to change the law as minors are able to get away many a time. A crime is crime, whether done by a minor or an adult. In case of heinous crimes such as rape and murder, juveniles should get similar punishment," said 70-year-old Kamlesh Lumba from Janakpuri.