Safe Delhi still a mirage for women

Safe Delhi still a mirage for women

Safe Delhi still a mirage for women

It has been three years since the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist intern triggered furious protests across India and a debate on violence against women.

After the incident, the government, the police and various other agencies huddled to make policies for a safer Delhi, but, three years hence, the women living in the city feel nothing has changed on the ground and the fear of meeting the same fate as the December 16 gang-rape victim is still prevalent in them.

“You still cannot walk a few steps without looking over your shoulder. Every year in December, we see the same question (Is Delhi safe?) on TV channels and in newspapers. What’s the use of debating women safety when nothing actually changes,” asks 23-year-old Sneha Koul, who is preparing for civil exams.  While steps like installing CCTV cameras have remained on paper, non-functioning streetlights is one problem highlighted by many women.

Monika Singh, who stays in Uttam Nagar in West Delhi with her husband, recently got a job as a tele-caller. While she is happy that she will be able to support her husband, who is an autorickshaw driver, she also fears for her safety as she has started travelling daily.

“I usually come home around 9 pm. The streetlights in my colony don’t function. I feel scared to walk the stretch from the metro station to my home. After a lot of women complained about the same issue, the residents of the colony have decided to pool money and install lights on their own,” she says.

The Delhi government had decided to deploy trained marshals in all buses plying in the Capital to put a check on incidents of eve-teasing and violence against women. The plan has, however, remained limited to a few buses.

Pushpa, who travels from central Delhi to Mongolpuri daily in a DTC bus, says she has never seen a marshal on that route. “I try to leave my office by 7:30 pm. There is a lot of fear with regards to safety that I just want to reach home as soon as I can,” says the 41-year-old.

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