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Now,Sita Sena to counter Rama Sene

DNBAN4525 | 3/1/2009 | Author : Gurudarshan Somayaji | WC :428

Columnist and author Shobhaa De woke up one morning to read a mail sent by a student from Bangalore, about the attack on four women in the city. Their crime? They were dressed in sleeveless tops and jeans. Appalled, she immediately denounced it on her blog and decided to start the Sita Sena. Sita (Sensitivity in True Action) Sena originates in Mumbai and is a protest model.
Sita Sena's first campaign will take place at noon on International Women's Day, March 8. Harish Iyer, creative manager in an event company, who runs the campaign will, along with fellow male supporters, stand in front of the Gateway of India wearing shorts, and little else. "We men will be wearing shorts –– the shortest ones possible –– and holding banners that say, 'I am obscene too, why don't you hit me?'. This is to imply, satirically, that men aren't getting attention when they expose more skin than women," says Iyer.
Shobhaa De initiated the campaign and is garnering support for the idea through her blog. "I was absolutely revolted and furious when I read about fresh attacks on defenceless women in Bangalore," De told Sunday DNA. "I immediately posted the story on my blog, and the reaction was stupendous. People from all over the world wanted to do something and help. I mentioned this to Harish Iyer, a regular visitor to my blog, and he decided to take it forward as a movement."
Iyer's involvement in the movement was also spurred by an email. "I received an email from a friend who told me there were fresh attacks on women in Bangalore," he says. His first instinct was to do something about it and help in any way that he could, he says.
Though this campaign has no set agenda at the moment, they are clear that resorting to violence is out of question. Iyer says: "If there is a Rama Sene, then there has to be a Sita Sena which is not a religious body but a protest model."
Sita Sena may not remain only a Mumbai-specific initiative. "Going by the initial response, I certainly hope the movement goes global. Women are the new minority and must be protected at all costs," says De. "I firmly believe that if there is one person, I am a loser. But if there are even two people, then it's a group and three is a crowd. This is a start to help influence public opinion and create awareness. The message to the molesters is loud and clear –– women will fight back."

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