Pads Against Sexism Movement Picks Up in Kolkata's Jadavpur University, 'Socially Unacceptable,' Says Vice Chancellor

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A Student pasting a sanitary pad in Jadavpur University in Kolkata

Kolkata: 

A group of students at Kolkata's Jadavpur University, who have now adopted pads-against-sexism movement', today peppered the campus with sanitary napkins. The napkins were inscribed with slogans related to gender sensitization and the stigma of those raped or molested. The movement was started by Germany's Elone Kastratia on Women's Day.

The first stop for the protesting students was the portico of the university's administrative building, Aurobindo Bhavan, where the first sanitary napkins went up on Tuesday.

"It is not a socially acceptable means of registering a protest," says Vice Chancellor Ashish Swarup Verma. "I am not against the protest, it is their democratic right. We should understand what we should display what we should not display." He has now set up a panel to identify those responsible and take action.

But the protesting students are not turning a hair. "What is socially acceptable and what is not? Is the sanitary napkin not acceptable? Is menstruation not acceptable? Or are women as a whole not acceptable to society," asked Joey Banerjee, a student.

He says they have been campaigning for a long time on the issue, "The difference is that we are using sanitary napkins this time instead of paper, everybody is interested about it, everyone has something to say about it."

Leading the movement from the front is Amruta Mitra, a second year student of Philosophy. "Basically what we are fighting against is continuous victim blaming and shaming. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Park Street rape case was a made-up story even before the case was filed. This victim blaming has to stop," she said.

Similar protests at Delhi's Jamia Milia had reportedly led to four students being show caused. But here the students are unfazed. The protesting students believe the campaign is working. "It stopped in Jamia but it has started here in Jadavpur and it will go on."

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