#HerVoice protests to take place on Friday during Narendra Modi's visit to London

Leslee Udwin, director of BBC documentary India’s Daughter, will be among the demonstrators 

Serina Sandhu
Thursday 12 November 2015 17:53
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Protests also took place outside Downing Street on Thursday
Protests also took place outside Downing Street on Thursday

The Indian Prime Minister will face fresh backlash in London on Friday as protesters are planning to demonstrate against the “crisis of sexual violence” in India.

Activists from the #HerVoice campaign, which aims to end violence against women in India, will gather outside Wembley Stadium from tomorrow at 11am as Narendra Modi is expected to address crowds there.

Among the campaigners taking part in the protest will be Leslee Udwin, director of BBC documentary India’s Daughter, which was banned by the Indian government in March.

“I stand with #HerVoice… to tell Modi that the women of the world stand in solidarity with those of India and will not be silenced to the atrocities that continue every single day," she said.

Commenting on her film which details the rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012, Ms Udwin said: “Hysterical Indian MPs cried that I had orchestrated a campaign to shame India with the release of India’s Daughter because it highlighted the issue of sexual violence.”

“The supreme irony, of course, is that it is the ban itself that brings shame on India, not the film."

The #HerVoice campaign is made up of nine Indian NGO partners including Snehalaya. Its UK CEO, Miranda Hudson said: “When you’ve seen the aftermath of the atrocities against women in India first hand, you can’t unsee them.”

“Modi and his government have been blind to the crisis of sexual violence for too long. He has to open his eyes. He has to hear the voices of the millions of women who are raped every 34 minutes in his own country.”

Holly Thacker, a volunteer with the #HerVoice campaign told The Independent: “We feel that until Indian society places a higher value on the women in society, there is still a lot of work to be done.”

She said she hoped Mr Modi would take notice of the protests and “change the rhetoric”. She added that men in India needed to be educated over how they treated women and to understand it was “not normal behaviour to be violent against women”.

Modi Says India Is Shamed By Rape In Independence Day Speech

Mr Modi arrived in London on Thursday for a visit aimed at strengthening ties between the UK and India.

But David Cameron has been called upon by Amnesty UK to “raise some human rights concerns” during the visit.

“In particular he could challenge Mr Modi over the strangulation of campaign groups and NGOs who have faced obstructions to their work, smear campaigns and accusations of anti-national activity," said Fiona Smyth, the group's head of campaigns.

Protests also took place on Thursday as campaigners gathered outside Downing Street, criticising Mr Modi over claims of religious persecution in India.

Additional reporting by PA

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