Ordeal continues for bus passengers

Ordeal continues for bus passengers

Ordeal continues for bus passengers

Travelling by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses is no joy ride for women. They not only face all sorts of harassment from the bus crew but also encounter rude behaviour from male passengers. There are also men who don’t think twice before making sexual advances towards women.

It was these issues that caught the attention of Amala Dasarathi, a class 12 student of Mallya Aditi International School, who decided to float an online petition against sexual
harassment on buses.

Amala has been travelling by BMTC buses since she was 13.

Although she hasn’t faced any harassment herself, she was stunned to hear that
most of her friends faced some kind of harassment or other.

Her petition has 287 signatures till date and most have been signed by people who have faced harassment of some sort. In light of this, Metrolife asked BMTC officials what they are doing about the increasing cases of sexual harassment on buses and passengers about the kinds of harassment they face.

The management of the BMTC says that if incidents of sexual or verbal abuse are reported to the authorities, severe action will be taken against the offender.

Anjum Parwez, managing director, BMTC, states that the management has trained and directed both the conductor and bus driver to intervene in case such an issue is brought to their notice.

“The conductors and drivers will surely come to the rescue of the victim but I firmly believe that the victim must be bold enough to lodge a police complaint against the offender. In such cases, the offender must be handed over to the nearest police station,” reasons Anjum.

He further states that www.mybmtc.com has a helpline and provision for
people to register online complaints which will be attended to on a priority basis.

So what about the evidence? Anjum says, “The work for installing 500 cameras in 500 buses has already started. We will gradually cover all the buses in the City.” 

About her initiative, Amala Dasarathi says, “I thought I should start a campaign to garner enough support and then approach the management of BMTC and see what they will do about it. This is also a good way to get victims to speak up.”

Madina, a garment worker in a factory on Mysore Road, has faced sexual harassment on a bus more than once.

 “There was a man who stood very close to me and kept brushing against me.
He didn’t sit despite there being empty seats. And when I got off the bus, he followed me almost halfway home. It was the most dreadful experience and I was too shaken up to complain to anyone,” she says.

Anitha Sampath, a researcher at NIAS has similar experiences as Madina. She says, “I’ve had men opening their pants and even trying to touch me. There have been times when I’ve screamed but I think that there must be somebody responsible on the bus with whom we can lodge any complaint.”

Men also confess that they often seen other men sit on seats reserved for women. Surya Harikrishnan, a student of graphic design, sums up, “Conductors don’t bother to remove men who occupy seats reserved for women. CCTVs in buses is a positive step to instil a sense of fear in people.”

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