EC News Desk

February 7, 2020

In the light of the repeated hate speech by election campaigners of the BJP, using fear of rape as a campaign message, and urging their followers to inflict violence on peaceful women protesting against the CAA-NRC-NPR, 175 women’s groups and individuals have sent an open letter to the Prime Minister. They reminded him of his Constitutional duty to protect all citizens and called upon him, and his party, to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women!

 Prominent among the signatories are Devaki Jain, (Feminist Economist), Laila Tyabji, (Craft activist and Chairperson, DASTKAR), Madhu Bhaduri, (former Ambassador of India), Navrekha Sharma, (former Ambassador of India), Zoya Hasan, (Former Professor & Member, National Commission for Minorities), Uma Chakravarti, (Feminist Historian and filmmaker), Syeda Hameed, (Former Member, Planning Commission of India), Kamla Bhasin, (Gender Rights Activist), Farah Naqvi, (Author and Activist), Natasha Badhwar, Author and Film-maker; and organisations like Saheli, Pinjra Tod, WSS, AIDWA, AIPWA, NFIW,  Makaam- Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Muslim Women’s Forum, etc.



 Feb 3, 2020







Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

 We speak to you as women of this country, and the women of Delhi – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Adivasi and Dalit – who are horrified at the atmosphere of violence against women that members of your party have created merely to try and win an election.

         When Mr. Anurag Thakur, a sitting Minister in the central government exhorts a crowd to yell ‘Goli maaron saalon ko’, please remember that in this case the ‘saalon’ is lakhs of peacefully protesting women, sitting in parks and maidans across the city, with young children on their laps.


        Another campaigner for your party, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,  Ajay Singh Bisht aka ‘Yogi Adityanath’ kicked off his campaign in Delhi by saying ‘Boli se nahi to goli’ se maanenge!

         When the esteemed Home Minister, Mr Amit Shah asks people to push the EVM button on 8 February with such force “that protesters feel the current”. Is he wishing to electrocute the women?

 Is the BJP now openly endangering the lives of India’s women and children? This is what history will record and India will not forgive, Mr. Prime Minister. For the nation saw the direct result of this violent atmosphere created by members of your party, which inspired ‘Ram Bhakt’ Gopal to open fire at innocent students in Jamia on January 30th, and another terrorist weaponised by the hate being spread by your party, fired at the women of Shaheen Bagh on 1st February.

        Mr. Parvesh Verma, your party MP said, “Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh). People of Delhi will have to think and take a decision. They’ll enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them.”

 What is this kind of communal hate and fear mongering that you, as head of government are encouraging, that seeks to make women of all communities feel more insecure and threatened? Vote for BJP or you will get raped! Is this your election message to Delhi’s women? Is this how low your party has sunk?

Women understand the meaning of rape, Mr. Prime Minister. We have long suffered violence on our bodies, with little access to justice, despite your government’s slogan of Beti Bachao!  We condemn this attempt to demean our histories of pain and fear by using it for cheap, divisive electioneering. 

 We do not fear the Shaheen Baghs of Delhi, Mr. Prime Minister. What we fear is a government that directs its security forces to attack peacefully protesting students, women and men. Elected members who openly threaten ordinary citizens. And a police force that stands by and watches as people inspired by this hate-filled rhetoric indulge in acts of violence.

Your government may disagree with the reasons for this nation-wide uprising against the NPR-NRC-CAA. But peaceful protest is our constitutional right. That is all we are doing. Lakhs of Delhi’s women are not just part of this movement, they are leading it. Empowered women are on the frontlines. We will not be silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors, when all they are doing it fighting to protect and preserve the Constitution of our country.

 Mr Prime Minister, you may belong to BJP, but you are the Prime Minister of the country and have a Constitutional obligation to protect the rights of all citizens. When members of your party exhort mobs to use violence and bullets and you remain silent or support them, remember it is you who are responsible.

        You need to speak out against such targeted violence and hate speech

      You need to take immediate action,including under all relevant criminal provisions of the penal code, against these violence mongering members of your party.

       You need to fight the Delhi election in a manner that upholds the dignity of our Constitution and ensures the security of India’s women.

 Issued by:



1.     Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

2.     Ajita, Nisha, Rinchin & Shalini, Convenors, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

3.                   All India Democratic Women’s Association

4.     National Federation of Indian Women

5.     All India Progressive Women’s Association

6.     Muslim Women’s Forum

7.     Pinjra Tod

8.     Centre for Struggling Women

9.     All India Queer Association

10.                        Jamia Queer Collective

11.                        Makaam- Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Delhi

12.                        Aman Biradari

13.                        Karwan-e- Mohabbat


1.              Devaki Jain, Feminist Economist

2.              Laila Tyabji, Craft activist and Chairperson, DASTKAR

3.              Madhu Bhaduri,former Ambassador of India

4.              Navrekha Sharma, former Ambassador of India

5.              Zoya Hasan, Former Professor & Member, National Commission for Minorities

6.              Uma Chakravarti, Feminist Historian and filmmaker

7.              Syeda Hameed, Former Member, Planning Commission of India

8.              Kamla Bhasin, Gender Rights Activist

9.              Farah Naqvi, Author and Activist

10.          Natasha Badhwar, Author and Film-maker

11.          Reena Mohan, film maker

12.          Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU

13.          Nupur Basu, Journalist

14.          Geeta Seshu, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai

15.          Geeta Kapur, art critic

16.          Enakshi Ganguly, Child Rights activist

17.          Anjali Bhardwaj, Satark Nagrik Sangathan

18.          Maya Krishna Rao, Theatre artist

19.          V. Geetha, Independent feminist scholar

20.          Susie Tharu, Independent Scholar and Writer

21.          Urvashi Butalia, Publisher

22.          Vivan Sundaram, artist

23.          Madhusree Dutta, artist

24.          Sanjana Sarkar. Head, Institut Francais, Rajasthan Annex

25.          Sadhna Arya, Delhi University

26.          Brinda Singh, Human Resource Development

27.          Deepa Pathak, self employed

28.          Lalitha Krishna, Filmmaker

29.          Indira C, Delhi

30.          Priya Pillai, Delhi

31.          Lekha Bhagat, Potter

32.          Namita Nayak, Filmmaker

33.          Ashima Roy Chowdhry, Feminist Activist

34.          Sania Farooqui, Journalist

35.          Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker

36.          Suresh Rajamani, Filmmaker

37.          Adsa Fatima, Feminist activist

38.          Deepa Venkatachalam,  Health Activist

39.          Shreshtha Das, Independent Consultant

40.          Dr. Ponni Arasu, Chennai

41.          Nandini Manjrekar

42.          Rituparna, Queer Feminist

43.          Vani Subramanian, Film maker

44.          Nandini Rao, feminist activist

45.          Ritambhara, Feminist

46.          Ananya Iyer, Student, M.A. Women's Studies

47.          Seema Baquer, Cross Disability consultant

48.          Suneeta Dhar, activist

49.          Rafiul Alom Rahman, Queer Activist

50.          Shipra Nigam, research scholar

51.          Dipta Bhog, feminist activist

52.          Malini Ghose. New Delhi

53.          Archana Dwivedi, Feminist Activist

54.          Purnima Gupta, Feminist Activist

55.          Rakhi Sehgal, Researcher & Trade Unionist

56.          Savita Sharma, Feminist Activist

57.          Shirin, entrepreneur

58.          Amrita Johri, Activist

59.          Abha Choudhuri, Concerned citizen

60.          Geeta Sahai, Writer, Filmmaker, Social entrepreneur

61.          Freny Khodaiji, Film Producer, Animal Rights Activist

62.          Minnie Vaid, Filmmaker and Author

63.          Padmaja Shaw, Retired Professor, Journalism, Osmania University

64.          Sharmin Khodaiji, Senior Research Associate, O. P. Jindal Global University

65.          Shernaz Italia, Film Producer, Animal Rights Activist

66.          Usha Rao, Anthropologist/independent media maker

67.          Hansa Thapliyal, Filmmaker

68.          Rahul Roy, Filmmaker

69.          Janaki Abraham, Academic

70.          Kavita Bahl, Filmmaker

71.          Nandan Saxena, Filmmaker

72.          Nishtha Jain, Filmmaker

73.          Radha Misra, Academic

74.          Ranjan Palit, Filmmaker

75.          Saba Dewan, Filmmaker, Author

76.          Samina Mishra, Filmmaker

77.          Uma Tanuku, Filmmaker

78.          Aamana Singh, Graphic Designer

79.          A.M. Padmanabhan, audiographer

80.          Anjana Mangalagiri, Educationist

81.          Devika Menon, PhD Scholar

82.          Kanupriya Sharma, Sr. Archivist, New Delhi

83.          Neena Verma, Filmmaker

84.          Pooja Singh, Development professional, New Delhi

85.          Preeti Gulati, PhD scholar

86.          Sanjana Manaktala, Development professional, New Delhi

87.          Vasundhara Chauhan, Concerned Citizen

88.          Vanita Nayak Mukherjee, concerned citizen

89.          Bharathy Singaravel, Writer

90.          Dipti Bhalla Verma, Filmmaker

91.          Shakti Kak, concerned citizen

92.          Richa Hushing, Filmmaker

93.          Rrivu Laha, Filmmaker

94.          Brij Tankha, Academic

95.          Bursenla,Media Lab, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bengaluru

96.          Gauri D. Chakraborty, Academic

97.          Kamini Tankha, Concerned citizen

98.          Kristine Michael, Artist

99.          Mirza Afzal Beg, Farmer

100.      Ridhima Mehra, Concerned Citizen

101.      Anandita Jumde, Editor

102.      Archana Kapoor, Filmmaker

103.      Ayisha Abraham, Academic, Artist

104.      Mahima, Business

105.      Dimple Oberoi Vahali

106.      Meenakshi Barooah, Filmmaker

107.      Muraleedharan C K, Cinematographer

108.      Nabeela Rizvi, filmmaker and researcher

109.      Namita Unnikrishnan, Therapist

110.      Nilita Vachani, Filmmaker/ Educator

111.      Rohini Devraj, Filmmaker

112.      Samreen Farooqui, Filmmaker

113.      Senjuti Mukherjee, Researcher, Archivist, Writer

114.      Sheena Jain, independent researcher

115.      Sherna Dastur, Graphic Designer

116.      Sumalata K, Creative Director

117.      Svetlana Naudiyal, Film Programmer

118.      Urmi Juvekar, Screenwriter

119.      Anumeha, Journalist

120.      Jayoo Patwardhan, Architect, Filmmaker, Art Director

121.      Jeroo Mulla, Educationist

122.      Maya Palit, Journalist

123.      Renu Gourisaria, retired schoolteacher

124.      Mrinalini Vasudevan, Writer and Editor

125.      Shalini Mukerji, Canine Trainer

126.      Ratna Golaknath, Psychotherapist

127.      Aradhana Anand, Furniture Designer

128.      Rita Singh, retired school teacher

129.      Ritambhara Shastri, journalist

130.      Mala Srikanth, Doctor

131.      Mimansa Sahay - Graphic Designer and Diver

132.      Shabani Hassanwalia, New Delhi

133.      Disha Mullick, Delhi

134.      Pali Singh, student, DU

135.      Arushi Mathur, Dancer

136.      Satnam Kaur

137.      Geeta Thatra, PhD student, JNU

138.      Titas Ghosh, feminist researcher, New Delhi

139.      Abhiti, Lawyer, Delhi

140.      Abhilasha, Law Student, Delhi University

141.      Suroor Mander, Lawyer

142.      Honey Oberoi Vahali

143.      Prabha N

144.      Aamana Singh, New Delhi

145.      Radha Mahendru, Art Worker

146.      Faustina Johnson, Editor

147.      Anne Correa, Lawyer

148.      Drishya Nair, Scientist/researcher

149.      Joyeeta Dey, researcher

150.      Jennifer Areng Datta, Filmmaker, Film editor

151.      Mallika Visvanathan, filmmaker, researcher

152.      Pooja Madhavan, Editor

153.      Pia Hazarika, illustrator

154.      Diamond Oberoi Vahali

155.      Veena, Cncerned citizen

156.      Shagun Talwar, Consultant

157.      Noopur, Ed-tech consultant

158.      Ein Lall, Filmmaker

159.      Sumona Chakravarty, Artist

160.      Sinjita Basu, Educational Specialist, Bangalore

161.      Sreemoyee Singh, PhD Scholar

162.      Farha Khatun, Filmmaker