More than 300 female students affiliated to the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student’s wing of the CPI(M), have sent sanitary napkins to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The napkins with the slogan ‘bleed without fear, bleed without tax’ on them were sent to protest against the imposition of 12% tax as per GST.
The students, from various educational institutions in Thiruvananthapuram, marched to the General Post Office (GPO) in the city.
On reaching the GPO they raised slogans standing on the road.
Later, each one of them sent separate sanitary napkins via speed post to the official address of the Finance Minister.
The SFI has said that the protest, which is a nationwide campaign, began on July 11 and will go on till July 14.
The protest will be conducted across campuses and SFI district centres.
The protest marked the inauguration of the state level campaign.
“We have decided to carry out the protest in all campuses. There were protests in Kannur and other places today. We decided to conduct the protest under SFI’s banner and not restricted to female students committees as the issue is not related to just women or girls,” Khadeejath Suhaila, member of the Centre Secretariat of the SFI, said.
Though the protest in Thiruvananthapuram had only female students, the SFI insisted that the SFI would join in the days to come.
SFI Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Pradin Saj Krishna said that putting sanitary napkin under luxury category in GST was not acceptable.
“The government has overlooked ordinary women’s grievances,’ he said.
Parvathy, Vice President of the SFI, Thiruvananthapuram unit, said that government’s argument, stating that the tax on sanitary napkins in the indirect tax regime was almost the same, is “insincere”.
“The government might have its own arguments. But it extremely difficult for the common people to afford it in the increased rates,” she said.
The SFI had also arranged the screening of short films that had been denied permission to be screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival held in the city recently.