Braving heat, 20-yr-old goes without food to seek justice

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For nearly eight hours, a 20-year-old girl stood at the Pimpri chowk, seeking justice for New Delhi gangrape victim. Starting her silent protest alone around 9 am, Bhosari resident Shital Jungade went without a morsel of food for the entire day and was joined by many later in the day. She left the venue around 5 pm after observing a two-minute silence for the victim.

Holding a placard that said "We want justice", and braving the afternoon heat, Shital remained unmoved throughout. "I have been following the plight of the Delhi girl... Her death has completely shaken me. I was initially scared to come out and protest, but after her death I realised girls will have to take their problems head-on," said the girl, holding the placard up all the time.

"There was no point in eating on a day the girl was cremated," said Shital who works with a private company in Hinjewadi.

"Even capital punishment would be less for the rapists... Imagine the horrible pain the girl suffered for 13 days. The way they had attacked her is simply despicable," she added.

Her protest drew people as the day progressed. "For two hours, I was alone, but after some time a few people turned up and stood with me," said Shital.

As the word spread, four women corporators, including former mayor Aparna Doke, Seema Savale, Asha Shendge and Asha Palande, turned up.

"The insensitivity of the public, especially women corporators (PCMC has over 60 of them), is condemnable. Though MPC News had sent SMSes to all corporators, only four turned up. The Bhosari girl deserves all praise for showing the way. The women's self-help groups should have been the first to protest," Savale said. Domnic Lobo, an activist, said: "If girls become as determined as Shital, nobody can cause any harm to them."

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