Both photographs in this article were clicked during an event organized on April 18, 2018 by Maitree, a pioneering women’s rights network in West Bengal

The event was called ‘MyNameKeepsChanging – No More Rape, Murder and Violence’, and was organized at multiple sites in Kolkata. The photographs are from a gathering just outside Hazra Park in South Kolkata. The event primarily consisted of a silent candlelight protest, though inspirational songs, banners and posters also were a part of the event.

The occasion was to protest the incidents of rape in Kathua, Kushmandi and Unnao, and more so the thoroughly inept and biased government response to these incidents. But given the social, political, legal, economic and ecological nightmares we’re living through, no single incident or cause need have claims over these photographs.

This photograph is also from the ‘MyNameKeepsChanging – No More Rape, Murder and Violence’ event organized by Maitree at Hazra Park in South Kolkata on April 18, 2018. The photograph has been taken after dark and shows a close-up of a number of people lighting candles from each other – only their forearms, hands and wrist watches visible in the picture. The smiling side face and shirt collar of one of the persons is also partially visible as he holds a candle from which most others are borrowing the light. In the background can be seen the blur of a public bus passing by, and some lights from across the road. Photo credit: Pawan Dhall

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This month is partial time out for Varta webzine. Here’s a list of the new ventures (online and offline) that have been keeping the Varta team away from the webzine in the couple of months gone by:

Our website subscription facility – click here to sign up!

An online searchable database on queer friendly sexual health, mental health and legal aid service providers: Resources – Health and Legal Service Providers (this is in addition to the older Resources – Agencies section).

New additions to the ‘Counsel Club Archives’ page – digitized copies of the erstwhile Naya Pravartak journal, one of the earliest queer themed publications in India.

Launch of the Varta Community Reporters Training and Citizen Journalism Programme Pilot (March to August 2018) in Manipur – in collaboration with queer support forums All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMaNA) and Empowering Trans Ability (ETA), ally NGO SAATHII, and the Sussex Social Science Impact Fund Project, Sussex University, UK.

A start was made with a three-day training programme in Imphal from March 27-29, 2018. We hope to bring you the outcomes of the training in the form of news stories and other posts from Manipur filed by the training participants, the Varta Community Reporters, through the next few months. More details of the programme to be uploaded on the ‘Training’ page in the near future.

Start of a legal aid support group for queer people in West Bengal as part of Varta Trust’s Queer Friendly Lawyers Network – West Bengal initiative – details of the support group and its activities to be uploaded in the near future.

We hope to catch up and be back with the regular flow of webzine articles from the coming month. Thank you for your trust and patience!

All photo credits: Pawan Dhall