Catholics in Delhi archdiocese paid rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, on his martyrdom by taking pledge to fight crimes against women.
Remembering the Dec. 16 gang rape of a medical student in New Delhi, some 200 people from the parishes of the archdiocese gathered at the Gandhi memorial yesterday demanding security for women and stricter laws to curb crimes against them.
“We are here in solidarity with the pain, suffering and anguish of the citizens of the capital,” Auxiliary Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Delhi said leading the gathering. They took a formal pledge to fight crimes against women.
"We often boast of a constitution that assures rights of everyone including women and children but we are disheartened by the alarming increase of sexual violence against women and children," the prelate told ucanindia.in.
The Church shall remain knocking at the doors of the constitutional authorities through non-violent means to ensure safety of women and children.
The Regional Bishops’ Council of the North (RBCN) in collaboration with the Office for Women of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the Delhi archdiocese and other church organizations organized the program.
Bishop Mulakkal, also the RBCN secretary, lauded the parishes, organizations and institutions that joined the civil society groups for the program.
He appealed to the parishes, educational institutions and other organizations to draw up a plan of action to create a positive mind set among the youth.
Sr. Helen Saldanha said like Mahatma Gandhi, who promoted equality between women and men, “we have to recognize and value the inherent worth of women.”
"We have to work for the achievement of justice, peace, love and equality through non-violence to make our county a better place to live in," said the secretary of CBCI's Office for Women.
Sr. Mary Scaria, a human rights activist said although the country has qualified and competent women, their presence is minimum in decision-taking positions. "Hence we demand the government to pass the women’s bill" that provides for reservations of seats for women even in the parliament.
Change has to take place at home, “we have to teach our children and youth to respect the women,” Sr. Scaria, the Supreme Court lawyer said.
India: The appeal asked for "dialogue" to find a peaceful solution.