Hundreds join walk for women`s right to city by night

New Delhi: The city belongs to everyone at all times, and there is nothing like `asking for it`. Asserting that right for women so they can ‘claim the city by night’, hundreds of people, mostly youngsters, took part in a walk Friday evening in the capital.

Aimed at highlighting the need to change the attitude of people and make the city safer for women, the walk titled `Claim Your City By Night`, was organised by an NGO, Sathi All For Partnerships, and timed such that it coincided with the Human Rights Day that is observed Dec 10.

Anusha Sharma, a college student who volunteers in an NGO and took part in the walk said: "This city belongs to everyone, at all time. It`s shameful that we, as girls, are being told not to go out after a certain point of time or not wear a particular outfit because that will be like `asking for it`. It`s ridiculous!".

Shradha Verma, another participant, added: "I have come for this walk not for anyone else, but for myself. I want to feel safe in Delhi, and for that matter anywhere else, at any time. Is that too much to ask for from the administration?".

Starting at the Barakhamba Road, the walk culminated at Jantar Mantar on the edge of the posh shopping district of Connaught Place, in New Delhi area. A youth group performed a song.

Shivani Bharadwaj of the organising NGO said that while the walk has been organised to raise awareness about women`s safety in public places, especially in the wake of the abduction and gangrape of a woman from Mizoram in Delhi, this was the not the only aim.

"The issue of safety of women is serious, but we are also trying to address the fact that women should have the freedom to work as they like in a space in the public arena. For this reason, along with the walk, we have kicked off our campaign `Youth for Women in Habitat`," Bharadwaj told IANS.

The campaign basically aims to rope in youngsters in addressing women`s issues.

Emmanuelle Paris-Cohen of Sathi said: "Such walks have taken place in other cities like Bangalore and Mumbai and we think it`s high time that the capital has it too, especially in the wake of a wave of violence against women here."

Hailing from Canada, Cohen has been in India for the past seven months. She described her first reaction on the city as "shocking", especially concerning the issue of safety of women.

A total of eight NGOs, including Manzil, Pravah and Nirmana, participated in the walk. A large number of college students also took part in it.

Cohen said the inspiration for the walk came from a movement "Take Back the Night" along the same lines in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, San Francisco, Sydney and London.


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