rally

On the eve of International Women’s Day, South Asian activists came together to raise their voices against gendered repression in the world’s so called largest democracy.

Organized by the Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) on Sunday, March 7, the rally was held outside the Indian Visa and Passport Application Center in Surrey.

The demonstration was mainly focussed on the 30th anniversary of the infamous Kunan Poshpora gang rapes of Kashmiri women by the Indian soldiers.

Close to 100 women were sexually abused by the Indian forces on the night of February 23, 1991 in the name of “war on terror”. Years have passed but the victims have not been given justice.

The speakers were unanimous in their criticism of the Indian government for shielding the accused and repeatedly perpetuating sexual violence against women, and allowing rape to be used as a weapon to instil fear in the minds of minority communities. The pattern has grown under the present right wing Hindu nationalist government.

They also spoke out against the recent arrests of female activists by Indian police on trumped up charges during the ongoing farmers’ agitation, and held placards asking for the release of prominent human rights defender Sudha Bhardawaj and others, who are being incarcerated for their advocacy of the poor and marginalized.

Among those who addressed the gathering were Rohingya Muslim activist Yasmin Ullah, Sikh activist Dupinder Kaur Saran, and anti-racism educator Annie Ohana. Besides these three women, others who spoke on the occasion were IAPI members Rakesh Kumar and Gurpreet Singh.

The participants raised slogans in support of Sudha Bhardawaj and the victims of Kunan Poshpora gang rapes.

The event was started with a moment of silence for three female farm workers who died in a road accident in Abbotsford on March 7, 2007, and all those farmers who have laid down their lives during the current peasantry movement in India.


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