New Delhi: Various human rights groups have started an online petition demanding safe space for women in all public forums and social media.

The petition #IndiaAgainstAbuse, filed by actors Sayani Gupta and Manavi Gagroo along with Save the Children and Breakthrough India groups, have received nearly 70,000 sign ups in a week as internet users demanded an environment where abusive trolling, rape threats, vulgar memes are no longer tolerated, a statement said.

They have been demanding strong deterrents, penalties for violations of civility and a safe and equal space for women online from policy makers, digital platforms and digital bystanders, along with speedier responses from cyber cells, it said.

"Being a girl in India is synonymous with fear - a fear that lurks not just in dark alleys, unlit lanes and secluded public spaces, but also shows the dark side of the World Wide Web.

There is an urgent need to make all possible efforts to bring to a full stop, any kind of trolling and digital bullying that children face," Pragya Vats, Head of Campaigns at Save the Children, said.

"#IndiaAgainstAbuse is a collective of citizens and petitioners demanding action against targeted harassment of women online, and includes Sayani Gupta, Maanvi Gagroo, Save the Children, Breakthrough India, Yuvaa, Women in Cinema Collective. It is not a political or politically-affiliated entity," the statement added.

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