In the Name of Justice

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Candlelit Vigil Honours Delhi Rape Victim


People from all backgrounds came together in Birmingham’s Victoria Square for a candle-lit vigil to commemorate the second death anniversary of Damini, the woman who was brutally gang-raped on a Dehli bus.

Organised by award-winning media professional Reena Combo-Kainth, who launched the campaign raising awareness on issues of rape and abuse in India, the vigil in Birmingham was in memory of the Delhi gang-rape victim, Jyoti Singh Pandey, known as ‘Damini’, whose brutal attack saw an international outcry.

Speaking to The Asian Today, Reena said, “My life has taken on a new role. I am truly dedicated to raising awareness on issues of rape and abuse in India, and setting up a support a network in the UK to help too. Many Asian women suffer in silence in the UK too. The vigil on the 29th December is being held on the day ‘Damini’ passed away to honour and remember her. She may not be here anymore but she can be a silent voice for so many other oppressed women in India and other countries.”

The passenger, a 23-year-old medical student – who has been dubbed ‘Damini’, was set upon by a gang of six intoxicated men, including a joy riding bus driver. She was then raped repeatedly for over an hour and received serious internal injuries after being sexually abused by a metal rod.

Following the attack on the passenger and her male friend, rallies were staged across the world calling for those in charge to take responsibility. Protests have highlighted gender attitudes in India, and called for changes to laws on rape and violence against women. In the Midlands, local activist Reena Combo-Kainth has taken it on herself to raise as much awareness as possible for many ‘Damini’s out there. Having been inspired by the Delhi Gang Rape victim and realising the need for awareness and support she is now set up an organisation called ‘Damini’.

The event was attended by a number of interfaith leaders, media figures, local Asian celebrities and speakers. Candles were lit followed by a minute’s silence in ‘Damini’s memory. Hundreds of balloons were also released in honour of every Damini out there.

“Over 500 attended the two previous vigils to show solidarity and support. I am doing this to show India and the justice system there that even here across the globe we are standing strong to support women who are being raped daily in India. Damini’s parents are still awaiting justice, and it’s important that we all keep that fight going. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, if we keep raising the awareness we can make a big difference.” added Reena.

Reena Combo-Kainth’s fight for justice and raising awareness has been recognised nationally as she was awarded Media Professional of the Year in October 2013 at the national Asian Media Awards.


All photos associated with article accredited to and courtesy of Adam Yosef, founder and creative director of I Am Birmingham. Twitter: @AdamYosef

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