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Delhi rape: We will not FORGIVE, we will not FORGET

Last updated on: February 15, 2013 10:06 IST

We will not FORGIVE, we will not FORGET

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Two months ago, six people snuffed the life out of a 23-year-old student in the most brutal manner possible. The horrific incident unfolded inside a moving bus in Delhi, which is already notorious for being the 'rape capital' of the nation.

Callous politicians mouthed meaningless platitudes and inept police personnel blamed the victim for daring to take the bus as late as 9.30 in the night!

Unfortunately for our lazy authorities, the horrific incident took over the national conscience and refused to let go. The simmering discontent of a nation, which had so far preferred to look the other way while its womenfolk was brutalised, exploded into a massive movement of rage and protests.

It has been two months since India learnt the ugly truth that a society which fails to protect nearly half its population from sexual violence cannot call itself a civilised one after all.

Some telling images from the last two months prove that this time, Indian women are in no mood to forgive or forget.

Sweety, 22, a student, takes a self defence class in New Delhi. Sweety travels four hours every day from her village to the city to learn karate and taekwondo.

She says, "Boys in my village are scared to tease me after I beat up one boy who was passing lewd comments about me".

Since a medical student died after being gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi, the issue of women's security in India has been under the spotlight.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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Nalini Bharatwaj, 37, chairman of a management institute, holds a gun while posing in her office in New Delhi .

"Half the time, I am alone with my children and sometimes I have to travel late at night from work. If I flaunt my gunt, it is enough to shut up anyone trying to molest me or even trying to pass a comment," Nalini says.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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We will not FORGIVE, we will not FORGET

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Shaswati Roy Chaoudhary, 23, who works for an online fashion company, holds a bottle of pepper spray in a public park in New Delhi. 

"The recent spate of events that have come to light have made me feel threatened and alarmed. To take the first step towards self defence, I carry a bottle of pepper spray. That apart, I can never relax on the roads once I am out of the house. I am almost always vigilant and looking out for trouble," she says.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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A demonstrator performs during a protest as she travels on a bus in New Delhi.

Dozens of demonstrators took a bus -- which the protesters said was the last bus from Shivaji Stadium bus terminal -- to demand the availability of safer public transport for women in the city during late hours.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters
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Sheetal, 23, who works at a call centre, poses for a photograph outside her office. Sheetal says she has started carrying a small knife to protect herself.

She also says, "Things that need to be changed are not my working hours or my clothes but the mentality of the men in this city".

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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Deepshikha Bharadwaj, 24, who works for an advertising agency, poses inside her office elevator holding a notice that reads 'Sorry, I am not staying late now' in her office in Gurgaon.

Deepshikha has posted the notice on her desk. She says she wanted to send a message to her colleagues that she is not going to work late in the office anymore.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

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Chandani, 22, who works as a cab driver for a social enterprise which claims to provide safe and secure cab services for women driven by women, sits inside her car on a street in New Delhi. Chandani says the demand for their cabs has increased since the gang-rape incident.

"I am doing a very unconventional job for women. Given that I do night shifts, I carry a pepper spray bottle and I am trained in self-defence. Initially, I faced a lot of problems but driving cabs at night has helped me overcome my fears," says Chandani, who has been working as a cab driver for the last four years. 

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters
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Simrat, 24, who works for a non-profit arts organisation, travels in the women's compartment of a metro in New Delhi.

"I made the decision to use public transport as my primary way of moving through the city because I really believe that it is my right to be able to use public space, just as much as it is of any man's," Simrat says.

"Not using the metro or an auto or a bus or a cycle rickshaw (because it might not be a safe thing to do) is not an option in my mind because if I stop myself from living my life in ways that are most convenient to me, I am giving in to fear and ceding my independence. I use the metro because it is the most convenient travel option for me and I will continue to do so," she says.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters
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Women pose with knives, distributed by the Shiv Sena, in Mumbai.

The Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, has handed out kitchen knives and chilli powder to women in Mumbai following the gang-rape incident that ignited a national debate on the best way to tackle sex crimes.

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Photographs: Reuters

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