By Sharanya Gopinathan
On Sunday, Dhagam Foundation, an NGO for the empowerment of women, and the Collective for Sustainable Menstruation, held a protest in Chennai against the 12 percent GST on sanitary pads and other menstrual hygiene products, including menstrual cups and tampons.
This is an issue that’s been raging for some time now, especially after it was pointed out that menstrual products were being taxed at a high rate while sindoor and bangles were not. It’s led to a variety of different protests, including one in which students from all over the country sent sanitary pads to Arun Jaitley‘s office.
This protest in Chennai saw students sitting under the replica of a giant sanitary pad. The protesting students told The News Minute that they hope talking boldly about sanitary pads and their prices would help dispel some of the silence around menstruation, while also helping to remove a tax that affects women particularly.
To give you a sense of the weird discomfort that people continue to feel around the idea of pads and menstruation, organisers at Dhagam say that police didn’t let them set up chairs or a tent for the protest, and also denied them permission to put up a certain poster, saying it was too obscene. The police say that the poster was “not very acceptable in a public place”. It was presumably an image of a woman, menstrual blood or both.
It’s also reported that at the protest, a male volunteer shouted ‘Idhu ennoda ratham, eppome sutham’ (This is my blood, it is always clean), which the female students repeated loudly. Erm, okay. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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