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Women's rights activists to hold marches across the country

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 2, 2019  | 16:43 IST

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) In a bid to sensitize women across the country to use their vote to reject the "current environment of hate and violence", several women's rights activists and civil society groups will organise marches in 143 districts across 20 states on April 4. The marches will held in villages, blocks, 'talukas', cities, colleges and markets under the banner of "Women March 4 Change". In Delhi, the march will start from Mandi House at 11 am and will culminate at Jantar Mantar. Social activist Shabnam Hashmi said that the purpose of the march is to ignite women all over the country to use their vote to reject the current environment of hate and violence and to claim their constitutional rights as citizens of a democratic republic. "The present government has led a war against its own citizens mob lynching, hate speeches, invoking draconian laws against peaceful protests, arresting people and calling them 'seditious', 'anti-national' and 'urban naxal'," Hashmi said. The social activist said women, dalits, adivasis, Muslims, de-notified tribes, students, workers, farmers, artists and writers, journalists and human rights defenders among others have been harmed and many have been killed. "The shrill cry of war, escalation of hostilities on the border, the glorification of masculine aggression, the perennial creation of false 'enemies' within, we will not tolerate this any longer," she said. An RTI activist, Anjali Bhardwaj said that inequality has become one of the biggest challenges in the country and it disproportionately impacts women and marginalised communities. "Today we have reached a situation where 9 families own 50 per cent of the country's wealth - this has been made possible by the crony capitalist government which has weakened all institutions that empower people to hold the system accountable. We see starvation deaths across the country," Bhardwaj said. Highlighting how the government has systemically weakened fundamental rights, especially of women, gender and education activist Dipta Bhog claimed the flagship program of this government 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' was a "scam" on women and girls of the country because more than 50 per cent of the budget of the scheme was spent on publicity. "Sex ratio has continued to drop, with this trend now also being seen in southern states. Statistics show more than 40 per cent girls drop out of school. In fact it appears that the government is suppressing data and not making it public like - percentage of muslim girls dropping out," she said. Flagging the issues of women farmers, Soma KP said past five years have seen every effort to undermine the Forest Rights Act 2006 and its entitlements to forest dweller communities. Only 17 per cent of the potential forest area has been recognized under forest rights, within which women's claims are systematically challenged, she said. "Women forest dwellers have rights to forest land under the Forest Rights Act but these rights are seldom claimed and instead state machineries and corporate sector use the power of the state use various forms of violence to capture forest lands and displace women impacting adivasi," she said. PTI PLB PLB TDS TDS

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