No voluntary assembly could have been so large, and so spontaneous! Hundreds of women from all walks of life gathered on the Tank Bund late on Saturday night, to say enough is enough, and claim their equal share of the night space.
In the context of the Delhi rape and murder incident and the subsequent furore for women’s safety across the country, women’s groups, along with concerned citizens have come together and organised the ‘Midnight March’ with the slogan ‘Free the Night—It belongs to both Men and Women’.
The rally had participation from women of various ages, professions and cultures, who were unanimous in claiming their rights to safe and secure passage in public.
The crowd, which was small around 10 p.m., swelled to about 1,000 to 1,500 in the next half an hour, and within no time women were seen holding placards and raising slogans breaking the nightly silence of the Tank Bund.
“Quit the silence. Protect Our Rights,” read one placard, while another said, “Ban the ‘two-finger’ test in rape trials”.
Quite a few placards proclaimed death penalty was no solution for sexual violence. Shouts of ‘we want justice’ rent the air.
Men too participated in considerable numbers. “Humanity, not Masculinity,” read a placard held by male students.
“There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the participants. They all are here to make a statement that women need to be safe and be able to move around in night too without any threat. The turnout of this scale is quite wonderful,” said Uma Indraganti, a participant.
At the strike of 12 a.m., there was a surge of passion among women, who exulted shouting, “We have won over the night.” The march continued up to 1 a.m. and reached Tank Bund.
The idea of a midnight march was the brain child of M.Tejaswini Madabhushi, a young professional, and taken forward by women’s organisations such as Anveshi, Progressive Organisation of Women, Yugantar, and COVA, apart from many individuals. Social networking sites such as Facebook played a great role in bringing the women for the march.