A newly-formed campaign group on Monday put up billboards at stations on the London Underground to raise awareness of rape cases in India and put pressure on the Indian government to deal with the issue by putting in place a robust system to help rape victims.
Called RapeFreeIndia UK, the organisation said its members are non-political and include women of Indian origin, including professionals working in various sectors, such as civil service, IT and medicine. It has raised over £2,000 from a crowd-sourced online platform.
The billboard drive, it said, will run from November 16 to December 13 in collaboration with the campaign group White Ribbon UK, which works to end violence against women.
London-based Roohi Ghouse, a medic and member of the organisation, said, “Seeing the issue highlighted on international platforms may put pressure on India to tackle rape crimes, review strategies and put in place a robust system that helps victims get their cases processed quickly, beginning from the medical examination, all the way up to the judiciary, and provide protection to the families when under threat.”
The billboards have been put up in Regent’s Park, Chalk Farm and Kennington stations.
Leena Shivpuji, an IT professional and part of the campaign, said, “We are deeply disturbed by the increasing incidents of rape and gruesome rape in India. We are not happy for India to be seen as an unsafe country for women or a rape capital. India has so much to offer and we do not want to end up with this title.”
Over 150 people in the UK and abroad contributed to the campaign with funds and support, including anti-rape campaigners such as Sohaila Abdulali and Tara Kaushal, according to Rekha Dutta, a civil servant.
“With 3,200+ reported rape cases in India in 2019 and with only a 28% conviction rate, women’s safety in the country is far from ideal. We believe it should be the norm and not a privilege. We want India to attain gender equality and mutual respect in a true sense,” IT professional Anita Sunder Rajan, another campaigner, said.