There must be no leniency shown to offenders in cases involving heinous crimes against women. This was the recurring sentiment at a women’s convention dedicated to stopping violence against women under way at the Bharat Scout and Guide Training Centre in Jagatpura here.

The three-day convention, titled Mhari Udaan, Mharo Aasmaan (Rajasthani for “My Flight, My Sky”), was inaugurated on Saturday by Laad Kumari Jain, chairperson of the Rajasthan State Commission for Women. Over 500 women from 15 districts of the State, being organised by international organisation Action Aid and its partner groups.

Led by feminist Kamla Bhasin, women took out a candle march from Albert Hall to Trimurti Police Memorial here on Sunday to pay homage to the victims of violence against women.

“The mindset about violence against women would change only when women themselves stand up to eliminate the difference between darkness and light and declare categorically that there would be no compromise with the criminals,” said Ms. Jain.

It was pointed out that Rajasthan stood second in the country in cases of violence against women. Of the 2,08,681 cases registered in the country during 2010, about 17,000 cases (8.5%) were from the State. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 1,500 (7.1%) of the 21,603 rape cases in the country in 2010 were registered in Rajasthan.

“At the convention, participants have been discussing various aspects of women’s rights, legal procedure and resistance against atrocities on women,” said Shabnam Aziz, Action Aid’s Regional Manager (Rajasthan and Gujarat).

“The convention would also highlight the international One Billion Rising Campaign, as part of which people from all walks of life would come together to celebrate and raise their voice against atrocities on February 14, 2013,” said Ms. Aziz.

One of the objectives of the convention is to make women aware of the ways in which they have been exploited since ages, including the atrocities that they consider to be a part of their lives.

At the end of the convention, women from all across the State would be empowered enough to draft a charter of their demands which would be submitted to the State authorities for further action, said Ms. Aziz.

Nisha Siddhu of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Mamta Jeitley of Vividha, Nishat Husain of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Richa Audichya of Jan Chetana and Manju Nangal of Urmul Trust, Bikaner, were among the prominent speakers.