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The ‘Rosa Parks’ of India

October 23, 2010

The ‘Rosa Parks’ of India

n December 1, 1955, a 42 year old black woman refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks’ act of civil disobedience helped spark the Civil Rights Movement and was key in ending racial segregation. The U.S. Congress later called Rosa Parks, “the mother of the freedom movement.”

Racial discrimination was one of the great social injustices of our time. However, there is another even greater injustice being perpetrated today. An injustice of such proportions that racial segregation, as ugly as it was, seems mild in comparison.

100 million girls are missing in Asia due to female feoticide and infanticide.

In India, discrimination against women has become a crisis:

More than 50 million women have been systematically eliminated from India in about 3 generations.
There are more than 25000 dowry related murders of young women every year, and the thousands who don’t succumb to attempts to burn, hang or poison them, live crippled for the rest of their lives.
Thousands of infant girls are routinely killed after birth by various methods — doodh peeti (drowning the baby in a bucket of milk), strangling, burying in pots, or feeding them husks of grain with honey.
The mortality rate for girls under 5 is 40% higher than that for boys the same age and these girls are dying of starvation and deliberate neglect. They are being allowed to die.
One pregnant woman dies every 5 minutes because women are forced to undergo repeated pregnancies and abortions, and often subject to cheap and unsafe methods of abortion
More so, despite existing laws, a large section of the medical fraternity colludes with families to systematically eliminate about a million female fetuses and/or prevent their birth through sex-selected abortions, and other technologies. (statistics from The 50 Million Missing Campaign)

The women and girls of India are suffering unspeakable abuse and neglect, simply because they are female. The war against girls in India is rooted in centuries-old tradition and sustained by deeply ingrained cultural dynamics. It is a cancer that has to be eliminated, and just as racial discrimination was fought in the U.S. through the Civil Rights Movement, India needs a movement of civil rights warriors who will stand for justice.

But is there a Rosa Parks of India to stand with? Is there a woman courageous enough to become “the mother of the freedom movement” in India.

Mitu Khurana is one of the millions of women who have been abused and neglected because she committed the “crime” of bearing girl children. But Mitu Kharana is not one of the millions of women who have bowed to the pressure and killed her daughters. She resisted the immense harassment and intimidation brought to bear by her husband and in-laws. She protected her twin girls from the fate of millions of others. And against great odds, Mitu is the first woman to lodge a formal complaint against her husband and his accomplices in the government and medical community. She is the first woman in India to refuse to move to the back of the bus.

Mitu Khurana– The mother of the woman’s rights movement in India
Mitu Khurana is the Rosa Parks of India.

For all the valiant, socially-conscious, justice-loving people out there; for those of us who know we would have stood with Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and fought along side the greats of the Civil Rights Movement had we been able– this is our chance to be a part of an historic stand for justice in India.

Mitu’s case is ongoing, and the establishment in India is set against her. Even now, she is fighting, once again, for her twin daughters, as the father who wanted them dead sues for custody as a ploy to coerce Mitu to drop the case against him. You can stand with Mitu by signing her petition and help send a message to the legislature that this case is not going away. You can stand with Mitu by letting her know you are with her and to not give up. You can stand with Mitu by telling your friends about her case and increasing exposure for her cause.

Rosa Parks took a risk when she refused to move to the back of the bus, and she went on to fight the battle for civil rights. Mitu risks even more in her battle as her opponents attempt to use her daughters as pawns in the game. Stand with Shadowline Films and with justice on behalf of Mitu and her daughters. Sign the petition and send messages of support to Mitu through Shadowline Films. Write her a note of encouragement here, and we will pass it on.

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