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Rowdies, stay away this holi

‘We demand a safe Holi’ is the cry this year as NGOs take to Facebook to warn against women harassment.
Hindustan Times | By Neha Sharma, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2012 01:36 AM IST

Today on Holi — that coincides with International Women’s Day— girls in the city are clear on one thing: they won’t tolerate harassment in the name of celebration.
And helping them are NGOs that have taken Facebook and Twitter by storm, spreading the message of a ‘safe Holi movement’.

Quirky posters, short films, slogans on display profile pictures are all that you will see on Facebook today. Must Bol, an online campaign has asked people to change their display picture on Facebook to a poster saying, ‘Before being sensual this Holi, I will be consensual.’ “It’s a youth-led campaign. We are working with NGOs.

We asked people to take a pledge against harassment and within a day, more than 100 people took the pledge. People ask for a safe Holi, we are asking to save Holi,” says Kuber Sharma, founder of the campaign. An NGO, Breakthrough, has circulated posters on Facebook as part of their Bell Bajao campaign.

“Instead of a didactic message we decided to make it fun, with slogans such as ‘Karate moves to ward off balloons, undue advances in the garb of Holi’ on our posters. It is not just about women, men can join in too. The campaign asks you not to turn a blind eye,” says Sonali Khan of the NGO.

“We read a lot of tweets of girls saying, ‘Because there is hooliganism on Holi, I’ll have to bunk college or going out.’ So we started a campaign to tweet with #saveholi,” says Makepeace Sitlhou of Halabol, a social enterprise.

Centre For Social Research has made a video called Save Holi to create awareness. It shows a group of men violating a girl mannequin and has got has over 2,150 hits on YouTube. Guys, too, have pledged support in large numbers to the campaigns.

Akki does his bit for women

Actor Akshay Kumar has also vowed to save women in Mumbai against harassment on Holi. The makers of his film, Rowdy Rathore, have come up with a helpline number (022-6759990) to keep women safe from hooligans. “Women face a lot of harassment on Holi. They can call on the number and tell us if there is a security issue and we will take charge. Isn’t that great ?” says Akshay.

Poonam’s Holi video banned

Model Poonam Pandey says she is upset with YouTube for banning her Holi video. On Tuesday, Pandey had posted a sexy video of herself playing Holi wearing a bikini. “The video is not that dirty. I am just playing Holi in a white bikini. I had even put up a warning that people below 18 should not view it,” says Pandey.

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