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Thousands gather in Nagpur to support feminist meet, oppose RSS "headquarter" of patriarchy, oppression

By Our Representative
Thousands of women gathered in Nagpur at Indora Chowk Maidan following a rally in a feminist show of strength on the 120th remembrance day of Savitri Bai Phule, one of the first women’s rights activists of India, who fought against patriarchy.
Celebrating the life and legacy of Phule, who was also India’s first woman teacher, poet and writer, the feminist meet saw singing of songs, dance and theatre performances, and similar other cultural events to highlight how women have been subjected to “growing inequality and intolerance”.
The event started with a bike rally by young girls and boys of Nagpur and adjoining areas. Women and men from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Gujarat, Telengana and Odisha participated.
Speaking on the occasion, Delhi-based human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi, referring to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, said, the main aim of the gathering was to “expose the nexus between the corporate and communal patriarchal forces n Nagpur.”
Gujarat’s Dalit women rights activist Manjula Pradeep said that Hindutva and Brahmanimism were “two pillars of oppression” and to break them into pieces, there was a need for forging unity.
Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit scholar who was forced to commit suicide a year ago allegedly because of political pressure, said, she decided to be part of part of the movement because she believed in justice and wanted to ensure that there was no more injustice like that Rohith had to face.
“I have had to face a lot of pressure since Rohith’s suicide, questioning my finances, my Dalit identity, but I am undeterred”, she asserted.
Others talked of “gender oppression” as being “intimately tied up with the structure of caste and transgender people being denied employment” (Bittu), and the need for the feminists to fight fascism (Jaya Sharma).
A resolution passed on the occasion “resolved” to unite in the fight against the oppressive social order created by the nexus of Brahmanism, Hindutva and forces that favour the ancient law giver Manu’s treatise, Manusmriti, which favours violence against “untouchable” castes.
Opposing anti-conversion and cow-protection laws, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), calling them draconian, the resolution resolved to fight against the ideology “which has harmed women on the basis of caste, class, religion, race, community, sexuality, gender.”
“The violence produced by Brahminical hetero-normative patriarchy is glaringly evident from the 20,300 cases of rape reported by Dalit women alone between 2002-2015, rising attacks on the transgender community, moral policing, domestic violence, child abuse, sex-selective abortions, dowry deaths, acid attacks”, the resolution said.
“We stand against the imposition of caste specific occupations such as manual scavenging, coercion into the Devadasi/Jogini/Bedini systems, the denial of work and access to education for women of oppressed castes and transgender people”, the resolution added.
Resolving to work for strengthening the implementation of “laws around caste and gender injustice, such as the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, and those addressing sexual and domestic violence on women and children, the resolution said, “We commit ourselves to striving for legal recognition of the crime of marital rape, and redressal against the horrific practice of witch-hunting.”

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