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NLIU, NLU-D law students organise India's first 'SlutWalk' in Bhopal, Delhi July-end

India's first feminist 'SlutWalk' (click for larger image)
India's first feminist 'SlutWalk' (click for larger image)
India’s first successful ‘SlutWalk’ aka ‘Besharmi Morcha’ to create awareness about sexual harassment was held and organised by law students amongst others in Bhopal on 17 July and will be followed by Delhi next on 31 July.

Taking a cue from 'SlutWalks' organised abroad - Radhika Shingwekar and Swati Singh Baghel from NLU Delhi and NLIU Bhopal respectively along with Ayush Dixit, Arunima Tiwari and Kshitij Mishra - decided to launch a day-long walk called ‘Besharmi Morcha’ or The PrideStride in Bhopal.

“We thought that a lot of people don’t understand the whole concept of SlutWalk and there’s this taboo about the word slut. It was important to give it an Indian flavour and draw people from various segments,” commented Bhagel on rechristening to ‘Besharmi Morcha’.

The walk was attended by approximately 80 people who came forward to show support towards women related causes having little to do with clothes alone, said Baghel.

Started following outrage in Toronto to protest against ‘blaming and shaming’ of sexually harassed women, SlutWalk has been branded as a social movement attaining global reach with protests having been held in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Sweden and Denmark.

Baghel explained: “Basically what happened was that in Canada there was this police officer who said that women should not dress like sluts if they don’t want to be victimised, so it started as a protest.”

“There it started just as a protest against blaming and shaming of victims. However, when we decided to start this SlutWalk here we took into account the local conditions and broadened it a bit and decided to focus on sexual harassment on the whole. The second aspect is there’s this whole stigma attached and women don’t want to come forward and feel scared of the police, so the idea was to create awareness about it and bridge the gap between the victim and law enforcement officials.”

She said that the turnout for the walk was good, but a large number of people could not make it due to bad weather. An open forum, which was held later to discuss the issues at hand, attracted a greater number of people compared to the walk itself, according to Baghel.

“The people behind it [the walk] are from different backgrounds – there is an IT professional Ayush Dixit, Prateek from IIT Rajasthan who made the posters, etc. We created a Facebook event through which we reached out and started getting good response.”

She added that their endeavour would not be limited to organising such walks and as law students they would try to garner institutional support from their respective law colleges in the time to come.

The walk first conceptualised to first take place in Delhi on 25 June is now expected to happen on 31 July, with other NLU Delhi students too involved.

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