New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Celebrations, exhibitions and protest marches in the national capital marked International Woman's Day Friday, as women activists demanded stronger laws for the safety of women.
Hundreds participated in a march to parliament from Mandi House, organised by a coalition of several women's groups under the banner of "Centenary Celebration Committee". The women took to the streets demanding stringent laws that would make public spaces safe for them.
"Our main demand is a law based on the recommendations of Justice Verma Committee. We are very angry at the government and the main opposition parties that they are trying to find ways to not implement these recommendations," Kavita Krishnan, member of All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA), told IANS.
The Justice Verma Committee was formed by the central government after the rape and death of a 23-year-old in Dec 2012, to review laws on violence against women.
The activists said the government was trying to maintain "anti-women" clauses in the legislation on sexual violence which is before parliament.
Another protest rally was organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at Ashoka Road here, alleging the government had adopted an "indifferent attitude" towards the security of women.
"The matter of women's security in the country and particularly in Delhi has become a very critical issue for the nation. The government is not ready to take strong action in this regard," AAP member Manish Sisodia told IANS.
Addressing a function on the occasion of Women's Day, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit called for a change in attitude towards women, she asserted that a change that would ensure safety of women must start from the family.
"The change should be started from the family itself. Women are always beautiful in all roles. She is the epitome of beauty, intelligence, patience and hard work. Always respect her in all fields," the chief minister said.
Over 200 members of Bharatiya Janata Party's women's wing meanwhile staged a protest outside Talkatora Stadium, where Dikshit was addressing the woman's day function.
The protesting women blocked the way of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, who was on his way to attend the event at Talkatora Stadium. Tharoor was forced to leave after the women would not let him proceed, a police officer said.
Police kept watch, as a crowd gathered and raised slogans for about 15 minutes.
In a women-friendly initiative, about 200 autorickshaws of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh offered free rides to women passengers from 11 metro stations Friday.
Many public meetings, seminars, cultural programmes and special film screenings were organised in the national capital to mark the day.