Few women go out at night now

Many more policemen but far fewer women. That’s Delhi by night where insecurity has tightened its grip in the month since the gang-rape of a 23-year-old on her way back home from a movie and where women are cutting back on work and leisure because they are scared of travelling by public transport.

Never known to be the safe for women, India’s national capital has become even more perilous since the Dec 16 incident, say women, who feel a heightened sense of vulnerability.
A long night drive along some of the city’s roads showed up many more policemen but hardly any women. Travelling by motorcycle and by DTC buses along some of south and west Delhi’s roads, including busy areas like Malviya Nagar and Vasant Vihar, one doesn’t see any women standing at bus stands or travelling by buses.

At about 10.30 pm, a few women were seen buying a few essentials from markets. They admitted to being scared of taking public transport at night — buses or auto-rickshaws — and had changed their work timings in order to return home by 9 pm.

But police were aplenty on the roads, manning barricades at every five kilometers, while others whizzed by on motorcycles or in Police Control Room vans. “Despite the increased police presence at night, after the gang-rape incident, I now end my duty hours by 8.30 pm. Earlier, it used to end at 10.30 pm,” Neena Sahani, a 30-year-old company secretary, said.

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