Press Release, 14 Feb 2014

New Delhi, 14th February, 2014:  Scores of people came together at the Central Park, in Connaught Place, to observe the second annual One Billion Rising Campaign against all forms of violence against women and girls with street plays, flash mobs, music, dance and marches.

During the day long celebrations, organized by Azad Foundation, SMS, YWCA and Samarthyam, Dr. Maya Rao, reputed dance choreographer presented a drama on gender discrimination while Ms. Sonam Kalra, of Sufi Gospel Project, enthralled the audience with music and song. There were also plays by Srijanmatak Manushi Sanstha (SMS) and students of Miranda House along with speeches by activists and representatives of various civil society organizations.

In a brief address, Ms. Kamla Bhasin, South Asia Coordinator, One Billion Rising explained that, “One Billion Rising South Asia is working to challenge patriarchal mindset and behavior by launching a new Freedom Movement for the women and girls of South Asia. All the cultural and religious practices which go against our Constitutions need to go out and we need to implement national Constitutions that ensure women and girls their rights and freedoms.

Speaking on behalf of the scores of differently-abled persons who participated in the celebrations, Javed Abidi, Director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) said, “The status of women in India remains a matter of concern – with a steady decline of gender ratio, increasing female feticide and infanticide along with the increasing prevalence of violence against women. In this situation, women with disabilities who constitute 42 per cent of the total disabled population belong to one of the most marginalized sections of our society and continue to face harsh forms of multiple discriminations. To address this, it is imperative for both the Disability movement and the Women’s movement to come together and work towards achieving a violence and prejudice free life for the women of our country”.

Monica Kumar, Manas Foundation for Auto Drivers Rising, spoke of how, “Several auto-drivers have expressed immense enthusiasm and support to the campaign against social injustices and violence against women and girls by volunteering to become saajhedaars and socially sensitize men to sustain the outcomes of the programme”. She added that, “The Manas team believes that sensitized auto-drivers will be motivated to influence their peers and start a movement that works collectively towards positive change, contribute to the provision of a secure and women-sensitive within Delhi.”

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