NRIs step up protests in Britain in support of India's Daughter

NRIs step up protests in Britain in support of India's Daughter
London:  As protests over the Delhi gang-rape simmer in India, the case has fired the imagination of the Indian diaspora in the UK. Members of the Indian community here are protesting almost on a daily basis, asking for change and standing in solidarity with 'Amanat' (NOT her real name) from thousands of miles away.

What started as small-scale prayer vigils are now taking the form of something much bigger. Hundreds of women and men of Indian origin and other Londoners turned up outside the Indian Embassy in London on Monday to show their support for India's Daughter. This was, by far, the loudest and biggest protest yet outside India.

A crowd of around four hundred protestors turned up, shouting slogans in support of the medical student - who was brutally gang-raped in Delhi on December 16, and succumbed to her injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital - and against the "Indian state."

They were joined by prominent persons of Indian-origin in the UK.

Gurinder Chadha, who has directed Bend it Like Beckham,among other movies, said, "We're all Indians. This is a massive stain on us and no country can call itself civilised if it treats its women in this way. So, I am here as a vote to say- let's civilise ourselves. Let's be the great nation we want to be and that can only happen through respecting our women, daughters, sisters."

Virendra Sharma, the Member of Parliament from Southall, was present as well.

"Twenty-first century generation is not going to accept this kind of behaviour and this kind of treatment of their partners. And that is why it is important that it is a place to raise this, we should do it. (sic)"

A local not-for-profit women's rights organisation, Southall Black Sisters, organised the protest. But many other groups and individuals decided to come and make themselves heard as well.

Steve Headley, a union leader, had a message for everyone in India. "Well, from Britain, we would say that you are not unique in India. Sexual violence is a worldwide phenomenon. Governments all over the world and people must pressure governments to change the law and treat rape and sexual violence seriously and put an end to it all over the world."

Many women in the crowd felt especially moved by this case and came with banners, loudspeakers, and candles.

"It is obviously a global issue, but now, this has become a focus. Gang-rape is very serious. Last night, another rape has happened. So, we have to come together to support this," said one of the protestors.

Another vigil is planned for India's Daughter on Sunday in a London suburb.  

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