16 December 2016: JNUSU’s call for ‘Reclaim the night march’ witnessed the participation of more than a hundred students and activists from across students organisations. The students assembled at Ganga Dhaba and marched towards Munirka bus stop, chanting slogans against patriarchal norms of the society: “tod ke rakh do woh samaaj, naari jisme bandhi hai aaj” (shatter the society that oppresses women),” and “pitrisatta ho barbad” (dismantle patriarchy).
The purpose of the march was to remember the 16 December movement which saw a massive participation of men and women in the protest against “the rape culture in the country.” The march was inspired by the ideals of defence of women’s right to choice and freedom, to resist communal, casteist and racist attacks on women and to cease victim blaming and rape culture.
The bus stop was transformed into a platform for sensitisation which saw students keeping forth their views regarding sexual harassment, gender justice, and measures to tackle growing number of rapes, discrimination, and other issues that plague women in the society. Representatives including JNUSU’s General Secretary Satrupa Chakraborty, and Vice President Amal P P addressed the gathering, emphasizing on instituting mechanisms such as GSCASH in all educational institutions as well as in workplaces to eradicate all forms of violence as well as the complete implementation of Justice Verma Committee recommendations.
“The current government that has been talking about women empowerment and upliftment claim themselves to be rescuers of women. The very members of Haryana BJP were saying that women who marched on the streets for saving JNU in February branded them as prostitutes, though we see no harm in being a sex worker. Firstly, they are no one to decide whether we are prostitutes, and secondly each and every sex worker is as dignified as lecturer, Smriti Irani or anyone else,” Chetana, a Councilor from SSS said. Speakers urged the student community to unite for forming GSCASH in all educational institutes and appealed the gathering to remain united in the face of repression so that they can fight back such problems effectively in coming time.
Shubanshu, a research scholar at CPS and an activist from DSF raised pertinent issues of honour killing, intercaste marriage, Article 377, and AFSPA and urged for conducting election of GSCASH in JNU without any further delay. “Gender is a political issue, and we, therefore, need to challenge such issues politically. In Disha and Delta Meghwal’s case the outrage was not as big as Nirbhaya’s case; we need to introspect and reflect on such issues if we are to transform the current social setup.”
“Gender is a political issue, and we, therefore, need to challenge such issues politically. In Disha and Delta Meghwal’s case, the outrage was not as big as Nirbhaya’s case; we need to introspect and reflect on such issues if we are to transform the current social setup,” he claimed.
A series of speakers from across political parties then continued to express their views and concerns until post midnight after which the students dispersed at around 12:30 am.
Lakhyajit Taid is a BA student at CRS and works for The Informer.