In an innocuous little room in Stella Maris College, a bunch of young men held a hand against their heart and took a pledge to end violence against women.
On International Women’s Day on Friday, they were carrying forward the White Ribbon Campaign, started in Canada in 1991 and in India in 2010.
The campaign was in response to the 1989 Montreal massacre wherein 14 women students were killed by a man who claimed to ‘hate feminists’.
Organised jointly by the Forum of Anglo-Indian Women and the Centre for Women’s Studies, Stella Maris College, the event foresees men as part of the solution and saw participation from elected student leaders of A.M. Jain College, Patrician College and New College.
Supporting the campaign, Prateep Philip, ADGP (crime), Tamil Nadu, said there must be zero tolerance to any misbehaviour or misdemeanour against women.
He said that in his recommendation to the Justice Verma Committee, he mentioned the spread of the Friends of Police AWAS (A Woman A Sister) movement as an active form of community policing.
“It will enable every citizen to partner, instead of fearing the police,” he said.
Beatrix D’ Souza, former MLA and MP, and president of the Forum of Anglo-Indian Women, stressed on the need for a crisis centre attached to all-women police stations with a doctor, counsellor and lawyer or a woman activist to facilitate medical examination, filing of FIRs and counselling victims.
Faizur Rehman, general secretary, Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought, told students there must be zero tolerance for views forced upon by theologians that go against the principles of natural justice, social justice and human rights.
Sr. Jasintha Quadras, principal of Stella Maris, G.K. Francis, dean of A.M. Jain College, and Benita Marian, co-ordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies, were among those who participated in the programme on Friday.