Solidarity rally at Azad Maidaan

At 11 am tomorrow [16 November 2006] a solidarity rally is being held at AZAD MAIDAN, CHURCHGATE, MUMBAI, in protest of the brutal massacre at Khairlangi.

It is an apolitical rally of students, social activists and professionals who refuse to be oblivious to such heinous acts.

A one day fast is being observed tomorrow at the rally by a courageous few in order to express solidarity with those who were wronged.

The perpetrators of this act must be prosecuted.

Be a part of the peace rally. Be heard.

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If you do not have an idea as to what this rally is about read the previous post. Also please go through the links at the bottom [Tehelka.com, for comprehensive information] to get a fair idea of what has happened in Khairlangi.

The question that comes to mind is that a majority would have a fair idea about ‘justice for Jessica’ and the Priyadarshini Mattoo case. Has the media played its role in this event. Where are the candle light marches, where is the public angst?

In the same breath I would also like to add that a lot of negative connotations are being associated with the people who genuinely feel wronged and want to voice their protest. I do concede that certain elements do want to create chaos and generate political momentum out of this brutal murder. But that does not by any means should take away from the core issue here that four people were murdered in cold blood. And such acts of cowardice must be vociferously condemned.

It has been a month and a half since the incident. Two women were wronged in the most gruesome sense of the word.

“(On sept 29, 2006) By now, men allegedly from the entire village of about 150 Powar and Kalar families had collected. Some shouted to the sarpanch to allow them to sexually assault the women. They raped the women and killed all four, even as their womenfolk looked on, mute spectators to a form of justice reserved for castes lower than theirs.

Surekha and Priyanka were stripped, paraded naked, beaten black and blue with bicycle chains, axes and bullock cart pokers. They were publicly gang raped until they died. Some raped them even after that, and finally, sticks and rods were shoved into their genitals. In the meantime, Sudhir managed to contact the police from his mobile phone, but his phone had been smashed. Its pieces are now circumstantial evidence. Roshan and Sudhir were beaten up, their genitals mutilated, faces disfigured and their bodies tossed in the air, before they lay dead on the ground. Hiding behind a hut, Bhaiyyalal helplessly watched his family‚Äôs gruesome end. There was no one to call for help. Kherlanji had only two Mahar families; the rest were either perpetrators or spectators. An hour later, a village meeting was called and a diktat issued: no one was to say a word about the massacre.”

Why are the women empowerment groups not speaking out against this atrocity? Are women rights only for a representable few?

Also, a competent witness protection program must be in place. The prime reason for this act was the fact that Surekha Bhotmange who dared to protect her land and voiced dissent against the upper caste hegemony was a witness in a case. The laxity in this dimension lead to her becoming an easy mob target.

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