Mangaluru: The students, faculty, and management of St Aloysius College (Autonomous), under the leadership of Women’s Forum, CASH (Committee Against Sexual Harassment) and Human Rights Cell, organised a ‘Candle Light March’ procession to the DC’s office on Friday, December 13. The march was held to voice dissent on the recent crimes against women and children as well as to express solidarity with the victims.
On the same day, a panel discussion was held at the Mother Theresa Peace Park on the college campus at 4 pm to mark the day. “We’ve gathered here as a disturbed audience to bring out our discontent and voice our concerns against the violation of human rights that appears to have become a routine matter in our country if we don’t take care,” voiced the young faculty and students of the college in the panel discussion
English Department faculty member Neeti Shetty and Political Science Department faculty member Alwin D’Souza were the panelists who questioned the attitude of silence among the people. BA Students Harshitha and Aparna, BSc student Adarsh, BCA student Sahil, and BVoc student Kushubu also participated in the panel.
The panelists discussed the atrocities against women since the rape incident of Bhanwari Devi in Rajasthan and the struggle that led to the implementation of the Vishaka guidelines and later, the Sexual Harassment Act for women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act 2013). Students also brought to discussion the Puttur case of Dalit rape and IPC – Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act & IT Act, encounter deaths, and the role of civil society, Nirbhaya case, etc.
SAC Rector Fr. Dionysius Vas SJ appealed to the students to have a culture of diversity in the campus and appreciated the culture of multi-languages that the students employ while conducting sports day which was held the previous day. Principal Dr. Fr Praveen Martis SJ appreciated the move to improve social responsibility through the March.
School of Social Work Registrar and panel moderator Vineetha appreciated the efforts of the students and inspired the young students to believe in doing something to promote change. Dr. Shalini Aiyappa delivered the vote of thanks.
Women’s Forum Coordinator Dr. Saraswathi, CASH Co-ordinator Dr. Shalini Aiyappa, and Human Rights Cell member Dr. Rose Veera D Souza were the convenors of the event.
Marching in peaceful silence and holding placards, around 1000 students marched to the DC’s Office and put up a street play to promote awareness for a secure society for both men and women. A few Mangaluru NGOs were present and expressed their solidarity for the cause.
At the DC office, Dr. Saraswathi said, “It’s high time we as students of a premier institution of Mangaluru raise our voices against the atrocities and horrific incidents taking place against women and the vulnerable. We all know that we have a lot to do. We have to do much more to end these horrible abuses and the impunity that allows these human rights violations to continue.”
Jyoti Chelyar, from an NGO, spoke about the need to change our culture of silence to claim justice. Dr Dinesh thanked DC Sindhu B Rupesh and Police Commissioner Dr. P S Harsha as well as the officials of Pandeshwar and Bunder police stations for the support.
After the street play, the Rector, Principal, faculty, and Student Council members (along with the convenors) entered the DC office and handed over the memorandum to be submitted to the Chief Minister through the DC. The co-ordinators thanked the DC for her co-operation.
Prof. Naveen Mascarenhas and Student Council President Lloyd Vineeth guided the students in the march.