While Delhi was the first Indian city to say it’d host its own ‘slutwalk’ after Toronto originally did it in April, it was the Madhya Pradesh capital that quietly stole the thunder while we were busy pushing the dates. On Sunday, Bhopal witnessed the first Indian chapter of the anti-sexual harassment march for women, even if with a thin turnout.
Nearly 5,000 people had confirmed participation on the event’s Facebook page, but only about 50 turned up. It is noteworthy, though, that boys made up for a major part of the protesters.The action began a little after noon, when participants, armed with placards painted with bold anti-harrassment messages, gathered around the city’s Nutan College. Nearly 40 minutes after the scheduled time for the rally to begin, the ‘Besharmi Morcha’ started its 3km journey, shouting slogans till it reached the ICAF Ashram.
“I had always supported my daughter in this cause. But I wish more people had come forward to participate. There should have been more awareness about the programme, said Dr S Baghel, mother of Swati Singh Baghel — one of the organisers. Caress and Patrick, from Holland on a visit to India, said, “We had taken part in a similar walk in Holland. So we thought of taking part here too.”
Young Delhiites say it’s a bold step ahead. “It’s great that Delhi inspired another city to have its own slutwalk even ahead of itself!” says Neha Beniwal, 19. “We should be proud and have one of our own soon now,” says Sudip Sen, a student of DU.
What’s the scene in Delhi?
Delhi was to host the country’s maiden slutwalk on June 25, before it was postponed to July 24 and now, to July 31. Mumbai is also expected to host one in September. The first slutwalk, which took place in Toronto in April, was prompted by a police officer's comment that “women should avoid dressing like sluts” in order to avoid harassment.