Sisters of Charity of Nazareth celebrated International Women’s Day in a novel way highlighting atrocities against females across India.
Sister Sheela Palamoottil along with 50 women from four Non-Governmental Organizations held a picket in front of the Collectorate of Wayanad district in the southern Indian state of Kerala in support of their demands.
They sought a separate court for women to try cases under the Domestic Violence Act, shelter home and stringent punishment to those guilty in the rape and murder of a woman recently in the district.
Sulojana Ramakrishnan from Women’s Voice said, “women have to sit with other criminals during hearings in the court, and atrocities against women are on the increase in Kerala”.
In Andhra Pardesh, Sister Lilly Luka organised a group of 250 women from nine villages who were addressed by prominent personalities of the southern state.
Rajkumari, Assistant Superintendent of Police, addressed the group. She apprised them of the consequences of early marriage and exhorted them to take up education and vocational training.
Sister Roselyn Karakattu in Patna sat in protest with Bihar Women’s Network to demand 33% reservation for women in Parliament, due rights in local governance, prohibition and justice to a recent victim of sexual abuse.
A street play “She is Coming” depicted how illiterate women can change systems effectively.
In Mokama and Goswari blocks of Patna, the SCN sisters celebrated with 2,000 women and the theme of the day was ‘Men and Women Equal’.
The Community Health staff put up a street play – ‘Woman: This is Your Story’, showcasing the plight of women from birth to death and how their lot could be changed by forming associations.
The women marched through the streets of Mokama town shouting slogans on women’s empowerment. “We have realized that we are equal to men and have the right to live with dignity and honor,” said Serphina Manual.
By Malini Manjaly