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Midnight candlelight march in Mysore

Feb 2006

DH News Service Mysore:

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.

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, secretary, Ashodaya.

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 Mysore.

Original link: 

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/may22006/district214415200651.asp

 

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