Justice rally in NY protesting Kathua, Unnao & Surat rapes
New York: Several women's rights and advocacy groups, civil society and inter-faith organisations have joined hands to hold a rally here protesting against the rapes of young girls in Kathua, Unnao and Surat towns, expressing outrage at the horrific incidents and demanding swift justice.
The 'United For Justice Rally: Against the Rapes in India' was organised by Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus along with over 20 advocacy and civil rights groups, including Sakhi for South Asian Women, Women for Afghan Women, Turning Point for Women and Families, South Asian American Womens Alliance, Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, Shri Shakti Mariamma Temple, Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Shaanti Bhavan Mandir and Iskcon Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Brooklyn.
Organised near a famed statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the city's popular Union Square park here on April 16, the rally was held in response to the recent incidents of rape in Unnao, Kathua and Surat districts as well as against many other "horrors faced by South Asian women every day".
The speakers and participants at the rally expressed their solidarity with the young girls "brutalised" by the horrific crimes and demanded swift justice for each family. They also called out the "complicity and hypocrisy" of India's political and religious leaders.
Sunita Viswanath, board member of Sadhana and one of the main organisers of the rally, said that the rally was a beginning rather than an end toward calling for action against the horrific rapes and murders and to demand justice. She said the organisers of the rally hoped to raise about $10,000 that would go toward the families of the three rape victims in Unnao, Kathua and Surat.
"We are in touch with the fund-raising campaign in India and we can guarantee that funds raised will reach the three families. We hope many people will donate, so that we can bring some relief to these three devastated families," she said.
Participants in the rally held up pictures of the minor girl who was gang-raped by six men and then murdered in Jammu & Kashmir's Kathua.
They were also protesting the rape of a teenage girl in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao. The young girl has alleged that a lawmaker had raped her last summer. They carried placards and posters that read 'Justice for our Girls', 'Silence is Compliance', messages demanding marital rape be made a crime, calling for children to be educated about sex and abuse, changing attitude toward women.
Giving a rallying call of "enough is enough", the speakers expressed outrage at the unabated incidents of rape and sexual abuse and at the attitude of government and law enforcement authorities toward the victims of the crimes.
"Some actions are so vile that it becomes necessary for people to come forth and
condemn them. The recent rapes in Unnao, Kathua and Surat, India, that have come into light are nothing short of absolute monstrosities," Sadhana said.
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