New Delhi: “Auratein uthi nahi toh zulm badhta jayega” (If women don’t rise now, atrocities against them will only get stronger), personifying the verses of theatre activist Safdar Hashmi, women across India took to the streets on Thursday to vow to vote out the “anti-women, anti-worker and anti- dalit” Narendra Modi government Centre.
Marching from Mandi House to Parliament street, the women were shouting the slogans of ‘Azadi’ (Freedom), promising to take the fight for women’s rights to the elections.
Speaking to Newsclick, Shabnam Hashmi from ANHAD, one of the organisers of the march in Delhi, said, “From what we have been able to gather, the Women March for Change is happening across 20 states in over a 100 places. The march is an open call to women voters to come out and counter the blatant attack on the Idea of India, the already shrinking space of dissent, to save our institutions and our democratic character.”
The spirit unity was evident as women from across segments marched hand in hand -- from working class women ,including domestic workers, home-based workers, manual scavengers, to university students and civil society members -- singing in solidarity and sending out a powerful message to the Modi government and to the other political parties.
“The Modi government has attacked the rights of women, with the campaigns of the government being nothing but an eyewash, the funds of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, the maximum funds for the scheme were used for publicity, for the Ujjwala scheme, the government acted as if they are doing the women a favour from our own money, today the women have finally come out openly, to call out the government on its bluff” , said Amrita Johri.
Issues of the communalisation and increasing atrocities against women were also highlighted. Speaking to Newsclick, Swastika Sanghamitra working for the rights of Dalit women said, “Women from the marginalised sections, the dalit and the Muslim women, have suffered the most violence under the BJP government.” Venkatesh from Kolkata added, “Not just women, the violence against the LGBTQ community and trans men and women has seen an unprecedented increase, but the government has kept mum on all these matters.”
Apeksha Priyadarshini said,” The BJP has failed to crackdown on violence against women, it has instead, defended and fielded candidates with records of sexual harrasment and rapes.”
With the upcoming elections, the Women for Change campaign plans to reach out to women voters to come out and vote for whoever they feel will do justice to their issues best, and removing the” patriarchal and Manuvaadi BJP government” from the Centre.
Also Read: #InternationalWomen’sDay- Working Class Women Take to the Streets Against BJP’s Manuvaad