Activist Kamla Bhasin at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday.- Photo: Monica Tiwari
7 Feb 14- One Billion Rising for justice for women kicks off in the Capital next week This year, Valentine’s Day that falls on February 14, will be celebrated differently. It will mark the beginning of the second edition of One Billion Rising for justice for women and girls in the Capital and other South Asian countries.

This was announced at the Press Club of India on Thursday by several organisations that addressed the press meet.

The OBR campaign is a global call to all males, females and the people of the third gender to rise for justice for all survivors of gender-based violence. Endorsing the campaign actor, Aamir Khan said through a video message: “If we think that beating women is a sign of masculinity then only men need to be changed first, for it only shows their cowardice. Over100 core women are rising for violence against them. We have to learn how to be sensitive now.”

“Even after 60 years of Independence, if a woman cannot walk safely on Indian roads and she cannot be equated with men, then its time India changed her Constitution,” said social activist Kamla Bhasin, the South Asian coordinator for the campaign.

Quoting data from National Crime Records Bureau, she said while reported rape cases have risen across India by more than 50 per cent from 2001 to 2012 and the rates of conviction have dropped from 41 per cent to 24 per cent in the same period, it’s time Valentine’s Day was celebrated thought the “real love for women and girls”.

Deliberating on the programmes on the February 14, Ms. Bhasin said that people will rise “as a result of rigorous ground work that we have done for two years”. The rise will be defined through various programmes across the Capital, other parts of the country and South Asia ranging from flash mobs, seminars, training camps to car rallies. “It is amazing that we are only 45 groups of few women in Delhi and 25 regional women coordinator who will take care of one billion people rising in each country. For instance, Peru will rise against sexual harassment by inviting construction workers to head the campaign, Nigeria is rising to stop child marriages, Haiti is rising to highlight the impact of earthquake on women and girls, Pakistan is rising with a V-Men campaign to engage men and boys for the cause of women, Syrian women will rise through a photo documentary highlighting their real status and stories,” and so on.

Sehjo Singh, Director of Programmes at ActionAid India which has also joined the campaign said, “It is a reflection of some women feeling more able to report cases to the police after the huge outpouring of protest that followed the Nirbhaya case and the large numbers of people that showed their support to the cause of the OBR campaign last year on 14th February.”

In Delhi, few programmes that are lined up are, making public space and transport infrastructure more accessible and safe especially disabled female fraternity, and audio announcements on the stations of Delhi Metro. It is a collaborating effort of Delhi Metro Rail and an NGO working for the disabled called Samarathayam. Manas, another NGO will sensitise one lakh auto drivers. They will carry stickers/badges that reads “ Mera Imaan, Mahilaloon ka samman , and Na main aurton ka apman karta hoon, na hone deta hoon ”. Disability rights groups will organise flash-freeze mob and Azaad foundation that runs the only women driver cabs, will organise a street play and car rally across Delhi. Delhi Rising Group consisting of students from colleges, women taxi drivers and children from Srijanatmak Manushi will perform flash mobs in different parts of the city. Jamia Millia Islamia will arrange peace walks, nukkad natak and musical performance at its college campus on 11th Feb.