candlelight march in Mysore
DH News Service Mysore:
Samanwaya Samithi, commonly known as Ashodaya, a
community based organisation of male, female and hijra
sex workers, organised a midnight candlelight rally here
Ashodaya Mahila Samanwaya Samithi, commonly known as Ashodaya,
a community based organisation of male, female and hijra sex
workers, organised a midnight candlelight rally here on Sunday.
Over 200 members of the community took part in the midnight
march into the wee hours of May Day.
Auto drivers’ union, students, NGOs, several self help groups,
medical professionals including doctors and other marginalised
communities have expressed their solidarity with the cause by
participating in the rally.
About 30 sex workers from Maharasthra and a handful of
members from Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) have also
joined to facilitate and take part in the rally.
DMSC of West Bengal, which is now synonymous with the Sonagachi
movement, now boasts of 60,000 empowered sex workers, is the
first sex workers’ organisation in the country and presently
is mentoring Ashodaya.
“As members of Ashodaya, we have taken this bold step to
express our feelings to the public and to assert our rights. Our
work is physical labour and, we demand labourers’ rights. This
rally is the first step towards our struggle,” voiced Lakshmi,
Ashodaya in Kannada means a ‘ray of hope’. ‘Rays of
Hope’ were rekindled among the marginalised communities who
have come together and formed their organisation, Ashodaya.
“Earlier we were scattered here and there. We are forced to
run from street to street. Due to this, adopting safe sex
practices, accessing health care services or even using
preventive measures such as condoms is difficult. Now we started
coming together and started organising ourselves,” she said.
Lighting of candle by a senior member of the community and
passing on the light to others, symbolically represents the
igniting of the light of knowledge and dispelling the darkness
of ignorance thereby empowering them to come out of the shackles
imposed on them by the society, she said.
The candle light procession pass through the main streets of
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