Women to march across India against hate, violence
March 25, 2019 Matters India
By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, March 25, 2019: Women across India will march together on April 4 to reject what they say is the current environment of hate and violence and to claim their constitutional rights as citizens of a democratic republic.
Women’s March, India, is aimed at uniting voices of dissent against the targeted attacks on the Constitutional rights of women in India, Shabnam Hashmi, one of the organizers, told Mattes India.
The growth of fascist and neo-liberal forces in the country, and the resulting rise in violence in society, has deeply impacted the lives of women.
Attacks on minorities, especially Muslims, Dalits (formerly untouchables) and Christians, in various forms, including fake encounter killings and mob lynching by the cow vigilantes, have created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity, said Hashmi, a social activist and human rights campaigner.
There is a steady deterioration in the rule of law and the basic constitutional commitment to equality. Neo-liberal economic policies and growing crony capitalism have adversely impacted women in general, but especially those who belong to the Dalit, Adivasi (indigenous people) and other marginalized communities. Their fragile economic base has been devastated and the environmental destruction unleashed has impacted them severely.
The last few years have witnessed a frontal attack on the Constitution, particularly on the freedom of expression it guarantees – the right to dress, speak, write, eat and choose – which impacts women disproportionately.
According to Hashmi, voices of dissent have been systematically silenced. While human right rights activists Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen and many others are languishing in jails, women like journalist Gauri Lankesh have had to pay with their lives for exercising their fundamental right to speech and expression.
“As we move towards the 2019 general elections, we are reminded every day of the acute need to unite to defeat the casteist, communal and divisive forces that threaten to tear the fabric of our nation. Our vote is critical in deciding our fate and the fate of our fellow citizens,” she added.
There is an urgent need for women and transgender people in every sphere – students, activists, professionals, domestic workers, artists, academics, bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers, sex workers, farmers and forest dwellers – to raise our voices collectively against fascism, violence, hate, discrimination and war, Hashmi said.
We need to reclaim our republic, assert our rights guaranteed by the Constitution and stand up against the dismantling of our democratic institutions. Most importantly, we need to fight against the shrinking of our democratic spaces and the crackdown on dissent, she added.
Women’s March, India is an inclusive platform for diverse communities of women who seek to dismantle the current regime of oppression and strive towards a just and peaceful future.
Hundreds of civil society groups and individuals across the country have pledged to support the march.
“We invite you to be co-travelers in this journey and join us on the 4th of April. This is a national call to organize Women Marches across Cities, towns, Talukas, villages and wherever else possible on April 4,” said Hashmi.
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