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College students and professionals participated in a debate on gender inequality at Jantar Mantar here Sunday, ahead of the country’s first Slut Walk later this month to protest sexual violence against women.

The first ‘Open Debate’ saw youngsters holding banners reading ‘Slutwalk, Besharmi Morcha’ as they sat in a circle talking about issues like rape, pre-marital sex and sexual discrimination. Slutwalk has been renamed Besharmi Morcha for India.

‘The aim of today’s event is to spread awareness before the actual event which protests against victimisation of women on the pretext of provocative dressing,’ Umang Sabharwal, chief organiser of the event, told.

‘We wanted to have a strong foundation for such an important event,’ she added.Slut Walks have become a global phenomenon to protest against sexual violence after a police officer in Toronto caused outrage by stating in a speech to university students this year that women should avoid ‘dressing like sluts’ to avoid being victimised.The event here will, however, be a toned down version of the walks elsewhere which have seen women dress in skimpy clothing to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual violence should be blamed for the assault on them.‘We are setting the mood for the main event and are gathered here to exchange our views and ideas,’ said Parul Goel, a 21-year-old theatre actor.

The debate was followed by a skit from the Creative Energies Theatre Association (CETA), a group of young theatre actors.

‘We love to participate in such social causes. We had also performed at the agitation against corruption by (Gandhian) Anna Hazare and will definitely be a part of the Slut Walk,’ said CETA member Arnica Kohli.

The Facebook page of the Walk has attracted a lot of attention, with over 1,000 pledging support.


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