Young girls take up lathis to keep away goons and molesters in this Karnataka village

Belagavi,Oct12:Young girls from Belagavi district in Karnataka have decided that they won’t take it any more.
These girls from Waghwade village in Belagavi district now wield sticks and lathis so that they can use it against those who sexually harass them.
Men and boys from the neighbouring village of Markandey have been attacking and harassing young girls from Waghwade for a long time. At least five cases of molestation have been reported from the village.

When no help came for a long time, the young girls took it on themselves to save them the harassment and the attack.

The girls started walking around with lathis. One can now see them carrying lathis whenever they go to school, or just walk around the village.
It is alleged that the bullies from the neighbouring village attack anybody, be it young or old. This fear compelled many women to remain confined to their homes.
But these young girls were not ready to spend their lives inside the four walls.
The two villages of Waghwade and Markandey have been at loggerheads over incidents of harassment for a long time. But neither the police nor the political representatives have tried to resolve the issue.
The girls alleged that the men ride motorcycles, harass women and flee from the scene soon after.

STORIES OF THESE YOUNG GIRLS
Anuradha Desai, one of the girls, said “Once when I had gone out with my family, these boys from the village of Markandey came and threatened us with knives.”
“In another incident, when we were travelling by bus, they came and began eve teasing us. Whenever we walk, they keep passing comments. It has been taking place for nearly 2 years now. The police have taken no action. So, to protect ourselves we now wield lathis and walk around the village,” Desai told India Today.

Roopa, another girl who now carries lathi, described how she was attacked.
“I had gone to a nearby society and while I was returning, these boys came on a bike and hit me from behind. I had an umbrella in my hand and I hit them back. It was close to 9.30 pm but they have been doing this for a while now, she said.
POLICE DOESN’T ACT
The issue came to light when an employee’s wife from an NGO was attacked by the motorcyclists and she raised it.
Despite several requests to follow up on the security of women, the police is yet to take up the issue seriously. This has led to an increased number of sexual assault cases in the village.
“After knowing about the situation, we have been sensitising the girls on how to protect themselves. We also made a sincere request to the police to increase protection and patrolling,” said Kiran Nippanikar, of Pyaas foundation.

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