Chandigarh stalking: ‘Bekhauf Azaadi’ march at 10 pm today
300 women will walk from Rose Garden on Madhya Marg to Government College of Art, Sector 10 at 10pm on August 11.punjab Updated: Aug 11, 2017 11:14 IST
‘How safe are the streets for women? This isn’t the first time a woman has been harassed on the streets and it won’t be the last if we don’t reclaim the streets…’ says the Facebook event page titled ‘Bekhauf (Fearless) Azaadi March’. Organisers of the march, being held in the light of the Chandigarh stalking incident, say they are expecting 300 women who will walk from Rose Garden on Madhya Marg to Government College of Art, Sector 10 at 10pm on August 11.
- WHAT: ‘Bekhauf Azaadi’ March for women to reclaim the streets at night
- WHEN: Friday, August 11
- WHERE: Rose Garden, Madhya Marg to Government College of Arts, Sector 10
- TIMINGS: 10pm onwards
Ironically, the march will cover the popular ‘Geri Route’, glorified in songs on Chandigarh where “macho” men come to “look” at women. Are we then surprised why stalking and harassing women on roads has become common in City Beautiful?
But with the ‘Bekhauf Azaadi’ march, organisers hope to change the attitude towards women. They add that this is a non-political event by Chandigarh women to reclaim the streets at night.
This is not the first incident. It’s just that Varnika took an assertive stance. There has been a lot of victim shaming.
One of the organisers, Amy Singh, says, “As many as 10 to 15 of us are organising this march. We have got a good response on Facebook. Over 100 people have shown interest in the event; around 350 say they are coming for the march. We want people to know the ground reality of women’s safety in Chandigarh. This won’t be the first and last event. Many workshops and other events will follow.”
The city has remained in the spotlight ever since 29-year-old Varnika Kundu, a popular DJ, took a stand to bring her alleged stalkers Vikas Barala and Ashish Kumar to justice. The two were arrested on Wednesday and police pressed charges of kidnapping and attempt to abduct in addition to existing ones of stalking, wrongful restraint and drunken driving. On August 4, the accused chased and stalked her on the city streets well after midnight. Vikas is the son of Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala.
The event also aims at raising the issue of character assassination of women in such cases. There were many who took to shaming Varnika for being out late at night. Many campaigns, among them #Ain’tNoCinderella on Twitter, have since then supported Varnika for sticking to her guns and refusing to back down.
Another organiser says, “This is not the first incident. It’s just that Varnika took an assertive stance. There has been a lot of victim shaming. So there has to be a response from women on the incident. In view of that, this march is a good effort.”
“Many girls are harassed daily in the name of ‘geri’. This march is an effort to raise our voice against such practices. Also, there is enough rage against what happened with Varnika,” said another organiser, adding, “many women work late into the night in the IT sector, as journalists and in the field of art. Those women are shamed daily. We are holding this march to show our resistance.”