Students of Columbia University hold a candlelight vigil to protest the heinous rapes in Kathua and Unnao

New York, April 20, 2018.

Students and faculty from schools across Columbia University were joined by members of the South Asian diaspora from across New York City to sign an open letter to the Prime Minister of India condemning the recent cases of sexual violence and political inaction by the ruling dispensation this Friday in the Columbia University campus in New York City.

Over120 students, representing several schools of Columbia University, carried out a candlelight vigil under the banner ‘SILENCE NO MORE’ to express solidarity with the victims and demanded immediate action against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity.

The event was supported by the Indian Students at Columbia (ISAC), a student body comprising of students from India who are currently studying across engineering, public policy, management, law and several other disciplines across Columbia University. Several other schools like the Columbia Journalism School, Law School, Business School, Teacher’s College, Columbia College, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) were represented by students and faculty present.

The group marched from the iconic Earl Hall to the Butler Library where they expressed their protest through theater, dance and music which was followed by remarks by students, faculty members like Prof Shayonee Mitra, Prof Gauri Viswanathan and activists like Ruchira Gupta, Biju Matthew, Sujatha Gidla, among others.

The students then released a letter to the Prime Minister demanding swift action against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The petition was also signed by students from other Universities in New York and is currently being circulated across campuses in the United States to gather more signatures, although the written document is being released now.

The students demanded that the Prime Minister put to action his promises made on several forums to end violence against women and ensure stringent action against and strict condemnation of his own party members in perpetrating crimes against women.

( Soumya Shankar for ISAC Reporter,  Columbia Journalism School)

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