Gender issues in India were the focus when WRise, a women-led group, held an inaugural event as part of the Right to Be Series at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Sunday, March 3. The group's mission is to increase engagement in the community on matters related to gender issues. At the event, WRise Boston opened a conversation on issues such as sexual violence against women in areas that are geo-politically sensitive. The group used the case of Soni Sori, a woman from Chattisgarh, India, as an example of such violent acts.
Moderated by Boston-based activist Pronita Saxena, the WRise Boston event allowed local women from various walks of life to shed light on the recent developments and voice their concerns in the Soni Sori case. They discussed the lackluster stance of the Indian government in this case, including bestowing the President's gallantry award on Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg, the alleged perpetrator of Soni Sori's abuse.
More than 60 people attended the WRise Boston event, and organizations such as the Bolivarian Circle of Boston, Women Fight Back (WFN), Chelsea Uniting Against the War, and Association for India’s Development (AID) were also represented. Attendees were invited to sign the “Take back the President’s Police Medal of Gallantry awarded to Ankit Garg” petition at the venue.
The Soni Sori case has thrown even more spotlight on how women's issues as well as tribal issues are handled in India. Sori is a tribal teacher who was arrested on charges of being a courier between Maoists and the Essar group. She has been in police custody since October 2011 and has complained about being tortured and raped while in custody.
WRise Boston invites the community to join the discussions held every other Saturday at noon in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, email email@example.com.