A sea of humanity descended on Jantar Mantar to commemorate the third anniversary of the brutal gangrape and tragic death of a paramedical student. The Nirbhaya Jyoti trust organised a "Chetna diwas" on Wednesday to focus on the prevailing concerns over women’s safety and security.
A teary eyed Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s mother said "We have waited three years for justice and even after this long wait we see violence against women being perpetrated on a daily basis, and the discourse remains more or less the same. So today on this historic occasion I would like to tell the citizens of Delhi that my daughter’s name is not ‘Nirbhaya’, it’s Jyoti Singh and I would want everyone to refer to my daughter’s real name." She added, "Naming my daughter in public is not a shameful thing, what the rapists are doing is shameful, and we want to reiterate our demand for the death penalty for the juvenile involved in the case, age is not a factor the severity of the crime should be taken into consideration. And I also have a personal request for the political class, please do not politicise this issue and I appeal to all political parties to support the passage of the Juvenile Justice Bill." Speaking on the same issue TV journalist Barkha Dutt said, "We may have two sides to the debate of death penalty and juvenile justice but there cannot be two views to the issue of transferring the blame on to the women in cases of crimes against women."
The event was attended by a plethora of people who had come from all walks of life to express their solidarity. " I have come all the way from Haryana to take part in this event. This is not a one-day event for us, this is a constant struggle for women’s safety," said Alisha Hooda, a 23- year-old engineering student. "I am a nun, I am a woman of the Church and I do not feel safe in the Capital, the situation has slightly improved, there is no doubt about that but I still fear that I may be attacked regardless of the fact that I am a woman of god," said Sister Talisha. "The present trend is an indicator that women still do not have access to free space," said Ranjana Kumari, director and co-founder of Centre for Social Research. She added "There has been a lot of money which have been expended for the Nirbhaya trust, however we still haven’t seen any groundbreaking work. It’s been three years and we still haven’t seen the forensic lab which was promised."
Lyricist Javed Akhtar also spoke on the issue of women’s safety "I have no words to describe the horrific incident; I cannot even write a poem which can seriously give justice to this incident," said Javed Akhtar. However, Akhtar did manage to recite a poem on the occasion. He said, "We need to change the mindset of society. If we do not respect our women in our houses then how can we expect to respect them on the streets?" Actor Shabana Azmi said "In our country women have been given the status of goddesses, but I would like to say that we do not want the status of a goddess. We want to be treated as equals."
Many foreign tourists also joined in. Jaclyn from Chicago said "My city is notorious for its high homicide rates and rapes happen in our country as well so it’s not an Indian phenomenon, it’s a global one." "I can go out on the streets of Berlin late in the night without having to look over my shoulders. Frankly speaking it’s shocking when I keep getting warnings from my Indian coworkers about the rapes which happen on a daily basis," said Anna Oechslen, a German citizen. Bringing the ceremony to a close, Raj Kumar, Nirbhaya’s father said, "It was expected that we would get our daughter married and get her settled. However, we set fire to her. The fire may have been snuffed out of my daughter, but she lit a fire in all our hearts."