Beauty contestants rue violation of their rights

Three participants pull out

Kathmandu, September 24:

Contestants of Miss Nepal 2008 today accused the anti-beauty pageant activists of violating

their rights.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Rights of Individuals for Social Empowerment, the beauties opened up about the mental trauma they had to go through from anonymous threat calls, baseless criticism and false accusation against them in the media. They said that they had come up with several ideas to make this year’s contest different from the past, but they were barred from taking part in the contest due to the protests.

They said they were not only showing their beauty but also working as ambassadors for issues like end to impunity and human trafficking and for the cause of internally displaced and gender equality.

Sunita Ghimire, a contestant, said the protesters had the right to protest but barring the contest from happening was a violation of the right of the contestants. “The participants, who believed in giving voice to the voiceless, are being held back.”

“Twenty participants invested time and energy for the contest for months believing that it is a platform to showcase their talents,” said Hricha Thapa, adding that they were instead harassed and criticised for no reason.

Meanwhile, three participants — Usha Rajak, Priya Adhikary and Sunita Ghimire — announced to withdraw their names from the contest. Rajak said, “I have other commitments and contracts to accomplish.”

Hidden Treasure, organiser of the contest, has postponed the pageant three times after talks

with All Nepal Women’s Association-Revolutionary (ANWA-R), the sister wing of the Maoists and the main protester of the pageant, failed time and again.

The ANWA-R claims that beauty pageants sully women’s image.