Mumbaikars step out to protest rising violence against women

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Mumbaikars joined the nation in protesting the growing incidents of violence against women as the Delhi gangrape victim breathed her last Saturday.

Many citizens took to the streets demanding harsher laws against rape and sexual harassment.

They gathered at Azad Maidan, Bandra Bandstand, Shivaji Park and Juhu, among other places, to grieve the demise of the girl.

Actress Shabana Azmi held a silent march to demand stricter laws that will protect women.

"Zero tolerance for violence against women," declared a banner held high at the start of the 40-minute march from Juhu Beach to Kaifi Azmi Park.

"This is public and film industry reaction, asking the government to do something about this serious issue. If the government can take a decision on FDI so quickly, fast action against rape is definitely possible," said film producer Ashok Pandit.

While many gathered in solidarity with the victim, some star-struck citizens joined the march, which halted traffic on Juhu Tara Road for 30 minutes, to get a close at their favourite actors.

Even police were willing supporters, demanding harsher punishment for rape accused.

"This march is an absolute hit! It is good people have woken up. Rapists should be hanged in front of everyone nothing less will do," said woman constable Suvidha Sankalp.Actors and singers such as Hema Malini, Javed Akhtar and Ranveer Singh also participated.

Lyricist Prasoon Joshi said, "We are all here in support for some change. It's easy to blame the film industry and the media, but rape is every man's responsibility."

Singer Sonu Nigam, who joined in soon after landing at Mumbai airport, said men in north India need to be sensitised.

"The young girl died for us to wake up. We would be disrespecting her if we forgot," said Azmi.

NGO Deshbhakti Andolan held demonstrations outside Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde's home in suburban Bandra, demanding his resignation for allegedly failing to maintain law and order in the national capital.

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