“We are no longer feeling safe after the incidents at Barasat and Gede”

The protests entered the seat of power of the West Bengal government on Tuesday when a section of the State’s women employees marched down the corridors of Writers’ Building carrying placards and shouting slogans against the growing number of atrocities against women. 

“We who work at the Writers’ Building are not feeling safe any longer after the incidents [of rape] at Barasat and Gede [over the past few days],” said one of the protesting employees. 

The women who marched down the corridors of the third floor and then down to the rear section of the first floor that is not “restricted” — unlike that stretch in which the Chief Minister’s office is located on the same floor — said that their protests were aimed at drawing the attention of the higher-ups in government. 

“We think that as a woman she [the Chief Minister] will understand our plight better,” another protester said.  Yet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to meet a delegation that had wanted to hand over to her a memorandum stating its demands. 

“There are too many crimes occurring and we need to eradicate them; even if we have to protest day and night, we have to do it,” said the woman who was raped in a moving car after being offered a lift in the city’s Park Street on February 6 last year. 

She was participating in another protest march against atrocities on women in the city. 

“I want justice not only for myself but for the thousands of women who go to colleges and offices each day… We need justice and that is why we are protesting,” she said. 

The march was organised by a consortium of women’s organisations, “Maitree”, to highlight the growing sense of insecurity among women in the State. The protesters demanded a speedy trial and exemplary punishment for the offenders and that the State government ensure the safety of women. 

Meanwhile, a section of senior members of the intelligentsia has called for a citizens’ rally in the city on Friday against the deteriorating law and order situation in the State. 

Eminent personalities like Magsaysay award winner and litterateur Mahasweta Devi, film maker Mrinal Sen, actor Soumitra Chatterjee, poet-academic Nabaneeta Dev Sen and poet Tarun Sanyal will participate in the march.