Members of Sri Ram Sene got their share of limelight this fortnight. For beating women, tugging at their clothes, matrimonial threats… And Bangaloreans aren’t taking this quietly. On 8th February, students of the Srishti School of Art and Design organised a peace march protesting against this moral policing. With the slogan ‘I am an Indian, this is my culture’, more than hundred people took to the streets with banners and placards.
The march started from Rest House Road park, through Brigade Road, and ended at the Mahatma Gandhi statue opposite Cubbon park. Though the protesters faced some resistance from traffic policemen near Barton Centre on M G Road, some cops obligingly took the message tags offered to them. Pushpa Achanta, an IT professional and volunteer with non-profits, says, "The idea was to protest peacefully".
More initiatives are being planned in the city. ‘Bengaluru Unites’ is being organised to protest against moral policing and attacks on women in a Mangalore pub. On 12th February, protests will be held across various parts of the city simultaneously, with raising slogans, placards and human chains. This gathering will not be a representation of any organisation or political party but the voice of the common man, says Rajeev Gowda, organiser, Bengaluru Unites, who is also a professor at IIM-Bangalore. Gowda says, "The aim is to enable people, especially students and working professionals, to express their seething anger and disgust at the Talibanization of Karnataka".
The initiative urges citizens to step out, stand up (for our rights) and stamp out (fundamentalism). You, too, can volunteer to help out this Thursday. See bengaluru-unites.blogspot.com for details on how you can get involved. At least 20-25 spots across the city are expected to witness these demonstrations.
Bangaloreans aren’t just protesting through marches and demonstrations. There’s more in store for the Sene. The "Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women" have started what is known as "The Pink Chaddi Campaign" in response to the Sene taking law into their own hands.
Barely a week old, this campaign calls for people to donate pink chaddis. The group has even set up chaddi collection points across the city, where you can drop them off. With over a thousand people already signed up for this initiative, the Sene’s office is likely to receive this one-of-a-kind package filled with pink chaddis. More details at thepinkchaddicampaign.blogspot.com.
Even as the Sri Ram Sene talks of hounding hand-holding couples and forcing them into wedlock this Valentine day, Bangaloreans have their own counter plans. ⊕