Indian designers show solidarity with anti-rape protest

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Fashion designers like Ritu Beri, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ravi Bajaj, Reynu Tandon, Payal Jain and Varun Bahl joined thousands of supporters at India Gate here to condemn crimes against women.

David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore, Nida Mahmood, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna and Leena Singh are some of the others who joined forces to show their solidarity for the cause - in the wake of the gangrape of a 23-year-old girl who is fighting for life at the Safdarjung Hospital.

Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) president Sunil Sethi had sent out an email Thursday to all the designers of the committee and models to be present for the protest.

"This is one occasion where we should collectively show our solidarity and how we feel about this unfortunate incident. This support is not politically-driven, but is a conscious and sincere effort towards making Delhi a safer place for its women," read the FDCI mail.

The silent march, which was flagged off from Hotel Le Meridien, subsequently moved to India Gate.

The brutal rape took place Sunday night when the 23-year-old woman along with her male friend boarded a private bus at the capital's Munirka area to go to Dwarka. The woman was beaten up, stripped and raped by six men who were inside the bus. Both - the woman and her male friend, who was also beaten up when he resisted, were thrown off the bus near Mahipalpur.

Veteran designer Ravi Bajaj, who recently celebrated his silver jubilee in the industry, feels incidents like this are "rarest of rare", and "the goverment must take strict and quick action to punish the culprits".

"It is unimaginable and unpardonable. I don't think... for somebody, who is capable of committing this kind of crime, needs to be shown any mercy. The should be quick justice," Bajaj told IANS.

He feels a death sentence will "make a difference".

What's the reason for a silent march?

"There is no long term real agenda here. It is just that everybody is so disturbed that we had to come out and do something - whatever little we could. I am sick of being an armchair activist," he added.

The designer says there are three key reasons for such heinous crimes.

"In north, the existence of feudal attitude - that women are not equal to men, is causing problem. I also feel that migratory lifestyle is also creating problem. People who stay away from family for years become very insensitive and frustrated," he said.

"Thirdly, sex ratio between boys and girls in many regions is also the matter of concern. For example, in Punjab and Haryana," he added

The six accused in the case have been arrested.

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