The entire nation is incensed by the news of the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in Delhi on Dec. 16. People have been outraged by it and as result multiple protests have taken place at several places across the city. Jamia has been no exception. The Outreach programme and the Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, JMI, organized a ‘Peace Walk’ on campus pledging ‘Zero Tolerance of Sexual Violence’ on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.
The walk began from the Mirza Ghalib statue to the road towards Jamia School, Ansari Health Centre, made a U-turn at the Administrative Block from where the march proceeded towards Ansari Auditorium Complex. The march had about 100 participants that comprised students, faculty and staff. The walk was led by Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof. Syed Mohammad Rashid; the university Registrar, Dr. S.M. Sajid; Director of Sarojini Naidu Centre for Women’s Studies, Dr. Bulbul Dhar-James; and the Coordinator for the Outreach Programme, Dr Simi Malhotra.
Speaking about the Peace Walk, Dr. Sajid said:
It is a very dastardly act which has happened, which has been happening in this country and in this city for a long time and I think it is a shame on humanity. We should condemn it as strongly as possible. The citizens’ voice should be raised against this kind of ghastly crime and in this civilized world after say 60 years of independence if we continue to have these kinds of crimes that should not be tolerated. Every woman in this country must feel secure, free and equal to their men counterpart. And I think we academicians, citizens, girls, boys, politicians, lawmakers should pay very serious attention to this particular aspect.
On how important peace walks and protests are in issues and cases like these, Farhat, a second year student of Economics believed that when the government notices that so many people have taken to streets in demand of justice for the girl, there will be some impact upon the government.
The bone chilling incident from Sunday had received several reactions from the students most of whom are terribly angry at the incident. While demand for capital punishment for rapists is the popular demand among the people, most students at the peace march did not support the demand and instead felt that torture or castration was an appropriate punishment for the rapists.
Many girls who participated in the walk gave an account of incidents where they were either being stalked or stared at while walking on the road or using public transport. Eve teasing, a euphemism for sexual harassment on the streets of India, is encountered by so many girls every day. Speaking on sexual harassment, Syed Talha Chishty, a final year student of Public Administration said that people need to change their mentality. He said you cannot blame the police because the police won’t tell you what you should and should not do. He believed that values need to be inculcated by the family into the young generation.
Faiza Nasir, a student of BA Honours Political Science, said “I do not feel safe at all.” She went on to say that killing the rapists would not be a solution because “right now we are just looking at the symptoms and not treating the disease.” Just like Talha, she believed that kids need to be brought up with values and be sensitized about the opposite gender.
Dr. Bulbul Dhar-James, speaking on the event, said that the reason behind the march is to sensitize people and “essentially to break the silence. Too many women in too many countries speak the language of silence. We want to break that silence.”
As the Peace Walk concluded, about 50 students from Jamia went over to India Gate to carry forward the peaceful protest against sexual violence.
Scenes from the Event:
Watch a short video of the peace walk, on Youtube here:
*Click on an image to enlarge