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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Parents fret, fear and do their bit to keep kids safe

Bhavya Dore and Mugdha Variyar , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 08, 2013
First Published: 01:11 IST(8/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:39 IST(8/1/2013)

Every day, until his daughter hasn’t come home from school, Sanjeev Das feels a latent tension. Das, whose daughter is a Class 1 student at Delhi Public School in Nerul, faces all the usual fears encountered by parents. The gang rape incident in Delhi has once again brought those concerns to the fore.

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“I heave a sigh of relief only after my daughter is picked up from the bus stop,” said Das.

He and his wife have educated their young daughter on basic precautionary measures, including what constitutes a good or bad touch, when to scream if she feels she is an inappropriate situation and how to raise the alarm.

Parents across the board are alarmed by growing episodes of violence against young women and the dangers their children are exposed to the moment they leave their homes.

“School buses should have lady attendants. Areas near the school toilets should also have attendants and there should be more than one counsellor in school,” said Seema Parekh, who daughter is in Class 9. “If she is going to be late at school, I prefer to give her my cell phone.”

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Similarly, Chehak Bhatia, 6, a senior KG student, knows several helpline numbers along with her parents’ phone numbers by heart. In the light of attacks on women in the city, her mother Chanchal thought this was a necessary step to ensure she is safe. “I have made her memorise some essential numbers so that she can reach us in case of trouble,” said Bhatia. “Apart from this, I have also instructed her not to speak to strangers and not let anyone touch her, including the staff on her school bus,” she added.

In the summer holidays this year, Anupama Kamath will enroll her 15-year-old daughter in a martial arts training course. “This is the best way to ensure her safety. Since she is studying for her Class 10 exams now, I have decided to take it up after the exam,” said the Powai resident.

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