Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
There were many events of note this 20th day of the #BharatJodoYatra but we believe that the one that deserves first notice was the vigil by the yatris to highlight the worrying trend of increased atrocities against women; given recent shocking events, especially in BJP ruled states. Speaking to the press, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh stated that, “We are highlighting for the first time in the context of the Padyatra violence against women.” As a social transformational objective of the #BharatJodoYatra, this is definitely a priority.
If huge crowds are becoming a recurring motif of this yatra, the afternoon and evening of the 27th September seemed to be more than any previous day. As the 5pm time for the yatra start approached, you could hardly find standing space in Pattikad town. And the crowds seemed to extend all the way – 10 kilometres – to its end point in Pandikkad.
Earlier in the afternoon Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with members of the farming community. Among issues discussed were the draconian land law in Kerala that allowed the state government to acquire land without paying compensation; the import of artificial rubber and it’s deleterious impact on the local rubber producers; and the need to balance man and his environment, specifically the humane interpretation of laws that protect animals and peoples.
The afternoon protest in support of women’s rights were led by the women national and Kerala state cadre (‘yatris’) who are participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Speaking on the occasion Mahila Congress President Netta D’Souza stated that , “Every 16 minutes a woman is raped. This year on 15th August, Prime Minister Modi announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort that women would be respected and protected. But it’s the BJP leaders and MLAs who are themselves instigators of violence against women.”
Later speaking to a massive crowd at a corner meeting at the end of the day, Gandhi emphasised how under BJP governments women have been increasingly brutalised. “When this sister of ours refused to become a prostitute, she was found dead in a lake. That is how BJP treats women of India.”
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Kerala. Over 19 days in the state, it will cover 7 districts over 450 kilometres, before it commences in Karnataka on October 1.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Srinagar in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.
End of Day Travel Facts
- Route traveled/ major settlements: Pulamanthole junction – Pattikkad-Pandikkad
- Current District Name – Malappuram
- Malappuram is the most populous district of Kerala. It was also the first e-literate and first cyber-literate district of the state
- On 28 April 1920, the Malabar district political conference of the Indian National Congress took place at Manjeri, Malappuram.
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