Stalked by fear

Tini Sara Anien

While Bangalore is considered to be one of the safest cities in the country, the reality is that like any other city, it has its own set of problems.

For women in particular, the list of woes is endless.

Women from different parts of the country talk about their experiences in Bangalore. Sonal, a brand strategy consultant in the City who has worked in Mumbai, says that travelling is easier and safer in Mumbai, even at odd hours.

“The City is far better connected and has various modes of public transport. Even at two in the night, it’s very safe. I used to work as a brand manager there too and many of my recordings and ad shoots used to happen at night. It was easy to get a cab,” she elaborates.

She adds that she has had a couple of bad experiences with the cab drivers here. “Public transport is bad here. To go from Old Airport Road to Bagmane Tech Park, I have to change two buses,” she says.

Sushmita C hails from Delhi, which is considered one of the most unsafe cities in the country. She says that there are communication issues between the police, authorities and common man here.

“Considering it is an IT hub consisting of people from across the country and world, people should not insist on corresponding in the local language. This is an issue one faces be it with the bus drivers or highest law officials,” she says.

Language is not the only barrier, feel some. Steffi David, who is from Raichur, says that she can’t go out alone at night here. “We can’t just roam around alone.

More security is needed for a City with such a huge population,” says the college student.
Chetana Desai, who is from Belgaum, points out that  there is no proper police patrolling even at 9 pm in areas like Jayanagar.

“The worst part is that there are many stretches in the City which do not have proper street lights. The ones that are there are not lit. The infrastructure also adds to the safety factor here,” she says.

But there are many who feel that Bangalore is much safer when compared to their native place. Moumita Bose, an event analyst from Kolkata, vouches that women don’t go out after, 11 pm back home.

“Here it doesn’t seem like a challenge. One can wear whatever he or she wants. Back home, if you wear a pair of shorts, you are bound to get stared at. People here are open-minded,” she says.

She says that apart from issues with the auto drivers, she hasn’t faced many problems here.

Komal Gupta, an account executive from Kanpur, says that she loves the City and has always felt safe here.

“Though I’ve been to other cities, I have always come back here. It’s been a rollercoaster ride. But I feel it’s mostly up to us to be safe no matter which city we are in,” she says.

Komal says that people do reach out and help a woman here if she is in trouble. Says KS Vimala, vice-president of All India Democratic Women’s Association (Karnataka), “People love pointing fingers at women. But the fact remains that the mentality needs to change,” she notes.

Vimala also says that the police force and authorities need to be more sensitised. Ask the authorities about the situation and Kamal Pant, additional commissioner of police (law and order), says that there is increased patrolling in the City and the officials are doing their best to handle complaints at the earliest.

“We have women police stations and also a patrol vehicle Abhaya which handles the cases immediately. The Abhaya response team consists of a woman sub-inspector who is assisted by other women staff, who respond to cases accordingly,” he says.

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