Recent events in India have led to victories for women’s rights advocates, awakening citizens across the nation.
Last week, a religious leader nicknamed Guru of Bling was convicted of raping two of his female followers. Following his conviction, there were public protests by his followers that quickly turned violent; people flooded the streets, smashing cars, and torching buses,
leaving 38 dead and hundreds injured. Police have been retaliating with tear gas and water cannons with thousands of officers and army members deployed to aid the local police as the protests became more intense.
The Guru was sentenced to ten years in prison on Aug. 28, tears streaming down his face as he pleaded his innocence and had to be carried out of the courtroom by marshals. His 5o million religious followers support him from afar protesting in the streets even after he released a statement commanding them to not succumb to violence.
“The situation is coming under control,” federal home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said.
India’s supreme court has also eliminated the act of “triple talaq”. Formerly, Muslim husbands could divorce their wives simply by repeating “talaq”, the Arabic word for divorce, three times. The wife, however, could not divorce her husband using this method. The court terminated this practice because of the country’s guarantee of equality in their constitution. While many of the laws in this country follow religious beliefs, the court believed that this particular one was “not essential to the Muslim faith, and thus failed a key legal test,” according to NPR.
India has struggled with gender equality since the founding of the country. With these movements in action, the country is two steps closer to a brighter future for the women working every day to make it happen.