‘Slut Walk’ in Delhi to fight sexual violence

Organisers of India’s first “Slut Walk” have changed the name of the event and toned down its dress code because of concern the protest is too provocative, media reports said on Friday.


“Slut Walks,” which have become a global phenomenon to protest against sexual violence, see women dress in skimpy clothing to challenge the mindset that victims of sexual assault should be blamed for the crime against them.


“We changed the name after a group meeting,” Umang Sabarwal, one of the chief organisers, was quoted as saying by the Mail Today newspaper on Friday.


“Not all people in Delhi will understand the meaning of ‘slut’. So after a lot of debate and discussion, we have finally zeroed in on ‘Besharmi Morcha’ (Shameless Front).


“This way, more people in India will understand the real concept,” added Sabharwal, a journalism student.


The Facebook page for the event, which has been postponed from this weekend to late July, has already attracted support from 17,000 people.


Another report in the daily Hindustan Times said “sensible dressing” will be the order of the day instead of the earlier idea that encouraged short skirts and hotpants.


“Our struggle does not start when we step out in revealing clothes, it starts right from the time we’re born,” the paper quoted co-organiser Preetika Nanda as saying.


“Girls get molested in salwar kameez (traditional Indian dress) too.”


The new dress code found support from Bollywood actor Gul Panag, who has starred in a film about sexual harassment.


“Women here get raped when they wear saris and suits, so there’s no need to wear skimpy clothes,” Panag was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.


The first “Slut Walk” was held in Toronto this year after a police officer caused outrage by stating during a speech to university students that women should avoid “dressing like sluts” in order not to be victimised.


The protest soon spread to more than 60 cities where women joined in huge numbers


‘Rural women help Himachal fight open defecation’

Rural women in Himachal Pradesh have emerged as the driving force behind wiping out the menace of open defecation, a global expert said here Sunday.

‘The women have proved themselves as instrumental towards bringing about behavioural changes in the orthodox Indian society about sanitation and hygiene,’ said Christopher Juan Costain, regional team leader of Water Sanitation Programme of South Asia.

Addressing the concluding session of a three-day workshop here on ‘Sustainability and Rural Sanitation Initiatives in India’, he said the state has become a role model for other states in India to imbibe the spirit of women empowerment.

He said Himachal Pradesh has also set an example for others in areas like leadership of both government and non-government functionaries and motivation coupled with effective role of the panchayati raj institutions for making the total sanitation campaign a grand success.

Kamal Kar, head of Community Led Total Sanitation foundation of Kolkata, said the awareness level of people of Himachal Pradesh to keep their surroundings clean was extremely high.

The state’s gram panchayats (village councils) have been playing a pivotal role in achieving the targets under the central government’s total sanitation campaign for villages, he said.

Himachal Pradesh is poised to become totally free of open defecation by this year-end.