Mumbai Unites for Justice for Kathua and Unnao Cases
A large crowd gathered at the amphitheater on Carter Road, Bandra to stand up against the injustice against rape and murder of young girls in Kathua and Unnao cases and to put an end to Rape culture in India. A concept which is now being seen as an epidemic. Citizens from all walks of life assembled holding up signs advocating for justice. The peaceful protesters listened as various spokespersons announced a list of demands pertaining to holding political parties accountable for crime in their districts and enforcing the law especially on perpetrators of heinous crimes such as rape and murder.
Impassioned protesters chanted slogans such as “justice for the Kathua case and all our daughters” while others interacted with one another demonstrating solidarity with each other and with the cause.
We talked to a few Mumbaikars about their take on the issue of rape culture in India. Here is what they had to say:
“I think protests that are peaceful and people coming out in large groups is the need of the hour right now, it’s taken 3 months for the incident to be brought to light even by the media. The rape and murder of a little girl is what’s going to be the tipping point for a nation that’s had enough.” -Lara Dutta
On being asked how to respond to rape perpetrators, Twenty-year-old Hannah Stephen tells us,“A spectacle of a punishment and it must be immediate, fear needs to be instilled in such people. It’s deep conditioning that needs to be uprooted and it will take a really long time there’s no immediate remedy. But punishments should be carried out immediately.”
We talked to two young men standing side by side holding banners that said, “Cows are safe, Deer are safe. But Mr Prime Minister Why are our mothers and sisters not safe? #JusticeForKathuaCase/Unnao” and “We all heard wrong, #BetiBachao was a #slogan but a #warning… #JusticeForKathuaCase/Unnao”. On speaking with these gentlemen, we see that they are disgruntled with the political system and the lack of justice afforded to victims.
“When will they pay for their crimes. What are the repercussions and when? I feel so torn about it, I too have an eight-year-old sister, and tomorrow if she goes out It shames me to tell her that she’s in danger.” He addresses the socio-religious angle of this debate, telling us “I’m a Muslim, before that, I’m an Indian citizen, and before that, I’m a human being. I don’t have enmity with any group, in fact, my best friend Rohit, who I have brought here with me is Hindu and we are protesting against this violence together.” He further goes on to say “it is so important that his matter gets taken up and not shoved under the carpet, or else it will strengthen the perpetrators.”
We ask Ritu Rathod, why protesting is meaningful and how it can contribute to this cause.
She tells us, “It brings together people firstly, and we get a good idea of the strength of the mass. With how many people are fighting for a cause. You feel you are not alone and there enough like-minded people out there who want justice. You feel less disheartened.”
We had the opportunity to interact with the youth of Mumbai, eighteen-year-old Aarshia Satani holds up a sign that reads: ‘NEVER AGAIN, TIMES UP! #JusticeforKathuaCase’. She tells us “It’s been so many years that India’s fighting for the same thing over and over again. Regardless the number of ways we express ourselves from advocacy to spit poetry we still don’t get the justice we need and the government is doing little or nothing at all to handle it. That’s why my sign says time is up because it’s high time the government starts responding to us”.
Deepti Pendurty she holds up a sign that says ‘EVERYONE IS COMPLICIT’ she offered us a different perspective on the issue. She claims, “I think we’re all complicit as a society as people we need to change how we think to react, What we are offended by. Our moral compass is missing. Politicians and the media is complicit in how they report about communal violence as it only serves to perpetuate it”.
Actor and Model, Lara Dutta was also present with Tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi to show solidarity at the gathering. Lara tells us “I think protests that are peaceful and people coming out in large groups is the need of the hour right now, it’s taken 3 months for the incident to be brought to light even by the media. The rape and murder of a little girl is what’s going to be the tipping point for a nation that’s had enough.”
Talk show host, Tara Sharma address the protesters bringing a unique and inclusive take on the issue of violence “At a grass-root level we need to teach respect. Every child in each section of society needs to learn to respect everyone: boys, girls. adults, old women, young women, everyone. The seed of the problem lies in the fact that unfortunately these monsters who do such horrific things they don’t even know how horrific their acts are. While I think these people need to be given the most severe punishments I also think it’s important to not make this gender-specific, little boys are as vulnerable they are also being abused and believed less than girls are. We need to advocate safety for everyone.”
The seed of the problem lies in the fact that unfortunately these monsters who do such horrific things they don’t even know how horrific their acts are. -Tara Sharma
At the protest on Carter Road in Bandra, we saw a sea of people with different approaches to the problem of violence against women’s bodies in India. It didn’t matter that folks had varied solutions, the solidarity created heartened each person that showed up. The number of men present, highlighted that it is not just a women’s issue and concern but a social culture that needs to be addressed.