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One Billion Rising campaign kicks off; Aamir Khan, Gul Panag lend support

The One Billion Rising campaign (OBR), which will see over a billion people rising to protest against violence against women, started here Thursday with Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan and former Miss India Gul Panag lending their support to the campaign.

Aamir Khan and Gul Panag
Aamir Khan and Gul Panag

In the capital, the OBR campaign will focus on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence and the apparent impunity with which the perpetrators get away all over the world.

The main protest will take place Feb 14.

Aamir and Gul sent video messages to show their support and they were played at the press conference organised here.

Aamir, who has touched upon the issue of women's emanicipation in his show "Satyamev Jayate", says its high time men should learn to be sensitive towards women.

"I believe that to combat violence against women we men will have to change. Hitting a woman does not exhibit a man's bravery. Instead, it shows how cowardly he really is. If we truly want to be real men, I believe, we will have to learn how to be sensitive," said Aamir in the video message.

Gul said: "When patriarchy is tied together with capitalism, imperialism and various social, economic and racial forces, violence against women is intensified. It gives men, who are the perpetrators of the violence, a sense of impunity to go ahead and inflict this violence."

OBR focuses on "love" and "justice" for women and girls, says Kamla Bhasin, South Asia coordinator of the One Billion Rising campaign.

"It is the love of power that leads to violence and domination. Over a billion women and girls are victims of various forms of violence in the world. It has in fact been described as the biggest war ever against any community; one that goes on within our homes and communities," she said and added that the campaign looks forward to "peaceful homes".

The campaign has drawn support from people from all walks of life.

Samarthyam, an NGO that works with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), will be highlighting the need to make public spaces and the transit infrastructure, including the Delhi Metro, more accessible and safe for girls and women through audio announcements at all metro stations.

Delhi NGO Manas will organise training sessions for one lakh auto drivers to teach them the importance of the safety of women.

Organisations working on section 377 are also participating in the campaign, which will also be raising its voice against homophobia, racism and discrimination against people from the northeast or Africa.

Similar programmes are being held in all the states in the country and in neighbouring countries in South Asia.

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