The end of Section 66A, the controversial law that allowed arrests for offensive content online, marks a big victory for Shreya Singhal, the young law student who was among the first to challenge it in the Supreme Court.
The turning point was the Palghar case, Almost everyone condemned the arrest of the two girls for posting comments on the Mumbai bandh (post Bal Thackeray’s death) on Facebook. Shreya filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Supreme Court challenging Section 66(A) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
“I was so shocked. The post was so innocuous. I could have written it. If they got arrested, I or my friends could be arrested in the future too,” says Singhal, who had a conversation about it with her mother, Supreme Court lawyer Manali Singhal.
Singhal, who will be the fifth generation lawyer in her family once she formally qualifies, says she is thrilled with the judgment. However, the student, who says she has about 800 Facebook friends, cautions against taking this as a free pass for posting hate speech or defamatory comments.
“There are other provisions in the IT Act, and also in the IPC that deal with unlawful content,” says Singhal, who filed a petition in the Supreme Court shortly after returning from her studies in the UK in 2012.
As the clock ticks and the day starts ending, the only thing on the mind of every woman is to rush home. From literally sprinting to informing of their location every minute to the family members, women do it all. All this for just one reason – it’s not safe to be outside after the sun sets. If by chance there is even a slight delay, the family also starts fretting.
Why is being outside after a certain time considered to be unsafe? Well, the answer can be found in the question itself. It is because, as it starts getting darker, lesser women step out and hence roads are perceived to be unsafe.
Volvo beautifully addressed this via a video, set at the background of a popular old Hindi song, showing three women and sending out a simple message that more the women on the streets, more safer it will become. This video struck a chord among a lot of people, especially women who could identify with it.
Volvo, in a bid to encourage women to step out and reclaim their city spaces, organised a night walk. Mumbai Night Walk which was organised by Volvo under the #MakeYourCitySafe initiative in association with CrossBow Miles invited all the women to participate in a great number.
The mood for the symbolic march, which was held on May 19, was set up right at the beginning of event with some soul-stirring music and talks by various artists who champion the cause of equal rights for women.
In the final leg of the movement, which was the midnight walk itself was joined by Srishti Bakshi, founder and campaign champion of CrossBow Miles, who also holds a unique feat of walking 3,800 km from Kanyakumari to Srinagar in 230 days for raising awareness for women empowerment through financial and digital literacy. She is of a strong opinion that small steps lead to bigger changes. Problems like misogyny and gender stereotyping cannot change overnight and only sustained efforts towards completely removing them can bring change.
Bakshi joined the enthusiastic crowd of women marchers who walked from High Street Phoenix to Mahalaxmi Racecourse. The event had performances by spoken word poet Simar Singh, singer Abhilasha Sinha, singer-songwriter Aarifah Rebello, rapper Sofia Ashraf and award-winning singer Rekha Bharadwaj. The event saw some really acclaimed personalities like Sushmita Sen and Dia Mirza in attendance too.
This is not the first time that such a night march is being organised by CrossBow Miles. Earlier too, public night walks were organised in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Gwalior and New Delhi which were attended by 200-15,000 people in each city.
The Logical Indian congratulates Volvo on the grand success of their initiative #MakeYourCitySafe. We also hope that women leave their apprehension behind and unitedly reclaim their city spaces.