Indian artists demand end to violence against women

NEW DELHI (AP) — Dozens of artists and activists gathered in India’s capital on Sunday to demand an end to violence against women in a country where such crimes are rising despite tough laws enacted seven years ago.

Dozens of artists performed a play in a park in central Delhi at the event in solidarity with the global One Billion Rising movement.

The movement was founded in 2012 as part of the V-Day movement to combat rape and sexual violence against women.

Traditional drummers and musicians played tunes to the cheers of the crowd to focus attention on sexual abuse in India.

“Men, women and children who love and respect women should rise and say no more violence, enough is enough,” said Kamla Bhasin, South Asia coordinator for One Billion Rising.

Violent crimes against women have been rising in India despite tough laws enacted in 2013. The crimes are so common that they are generally given only a few lines in the country’s leading newspapers.

In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi prompted hundreds of thousands of Indians to take to the streets to demand stricter laws against rape.

The outrage over the attack spurred quick action on legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women.

Indian lawmakers also voted to lower the age at which a person can be tried as an adult for heinous crimes to 16 from 18.

Even if cases of rape or retaliatory killings become big news, they often have little effect on how the country's overburdened court system works for most people.

“We all need to stand up because it could be anybody,” said Bulbul Dhar- James, a political science professor at Sunday’s event.

“It could be me next. We need to understand that,” she said.

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