Close to 100 students representing the district wing of the Student Federation of India (SFI) took out a silent procession in the city demanding that action to check sexual violence start on the campus.
Establishing and activating anti-sexual harassment cells in colleges as per Supreme Court guidelines, installing complaint boxes in educational institutions as per the guidelines of the Vishaka Commission against sexual harassment, and setting up forums for young men and women to debate on gender issues are some of the proposals put forward by the federation. Students condemned the continuing sexual violence in the country, particularly the gang-rape in Delhi and other recent incidents that have come to light recently.
While the federation felt chemical castration was not the way to move forward, it has welcomed the State government’s move to set up fast-track mahila courts in the district. However, enforcement of laws by these courts is more important than establishing the courts, said a student who spoke at the meeting held after the rally. The federation questioned the sensibilities of politicians and general mindset that blamed the victims for the crime. Sexual violence stemmed from the commodification of women in an increasingly consumerist age, the federation said in a pamphlet. The absence of stringent laws to punish perpetrators of crimes against women and lackadaisical investigation procedures were responsible for encouraging such perpetrators.
The students marched from Kohinoor theatre to Anna Nagar Uzhavar Sandhai on Friday evening holding placards and raising slogans demanding stringent laws . The rally started behind schedule as the organisers expected more students to turn up. ‘They are not angry enough,’ said a student representative, at the response from students.