As residents of the Millennium City take to the streets after the brutal gangrape in Delhi, Sahara Mall on MG Road has turned into Gurgaon's Jantar Mantar.
Dubbed as the dark underbelly of the city, notorious for drunken brawls and assault on women, several protest marches have culminated here since December 22.
On Sunday too, hundreds of residents gathered here to pay tributes to the 23-year-old victim who was gangraped in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16. The woman died on Saturday at a Singapore hospital. The Youth, an NGO, and residents of DLF City Phase 2 held a condolence meet at the mall. "Like the Delhi rape victim, many women have been stripped off their dignity here.
This is in support of all of them, dead or alive," said a student protester.
Protesters, including students and industrial workers, also gathered at Leisure Valley Park near Sahara Mall on the MG Road and demanded justice for the victim.
Shalini Venugopal, a resident of South City 1 and one of the organizers of the march held on December 23, also led the protest to the commercial hub.
"We chose this stretch because MG Road has been infamous for lawlessness. Sahara Mall, especially, is the dark underbelly of Gurgaon. It is not at all safe for women," she said.
The mall, one of the oldest in Gurgaon, has been under the scanner after drunken brawls and molestation cases inside and outside its premises.
In March this year, a 23-year-old woman was gangraped by seven men after they abducted her outside the mall.
Last year too, on New Year's Eve, about 30 youths harassed a BPO employee outside the same mall. They had molested her and even tried to kidnap her.
"Women in Gurgaon face several problems, especially while travelling in cabs and auto-rickshaws. The law and order situation in the city is also poor," said a protester.
For a safer working environment
To ensure safety of women in IMT Manesar, industrialists of the township have decided to form self-help groups to prevent cases of harassment.
"We will meet the deputy commissioner and chalk out a plan so that residents can help improve the deteriorating law and order situation in the area. The IMT area doesn't have adequate streetlights or proper means of public transport. Thousands of women work in various industries here and security is a major concern," said Amina Sherwani, a member of the Manesar Industries Welfare Association (MIWA).
The self-help groups can help a victim register an FIR and also provide financial aid and counselling.
The industrial township is located in the heart of the city, about 20 kilometres from Iffco Chowk.
The situation is similar in Udyog Vihar too, a bustling industrial hub located just off the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
As reported by HT earlier, streetlights are dysfunctional across all the five phases of the township.
And it's not just the bylanes that are poorly lit. Even prominent stretches, such as the area with five-star hotels The Oberoi and Trident, do not have adequate streetlights.
"Around 10,000 women work here, including hundreds who work in night shifts at several BPOs. The area lacks basic facilities like public toilets and proper footpaths," said an industrialist, adding that citizen groups are needed to put pressure on the authorities that have failed to act.