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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Stalking, molestation part of life for women in Delhi

Paramita Ghosh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 31, 2013
First Published: 21:12 IST(31/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:05 IST(1/8/2013)

A knife, an axe, a country-made pistol and a bottle of poison formed the inventory of a 23-year-old young undergraduate at JNU who tried to kill, only unsuccessfully, a classmate who might not have been responding to his advances.

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It was another crime of passion in the Capital where 15 per cent of all murders are committed by people gone emotionally berserk, police statistics suggest.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of a range of crimes against women in a city notorious as the rape capital of India.

Stalking, eve-teasing, obscenity is common in the city. An officer with the Delhi Police's anti-stalking cell said she receives "at least 20 calls" complaining of stalking alone on the helpline every day.

"No theory works when it comes to the safety of girls in the city," said Anuradha Krishnan, mother of a college-going girl.

"I know what time she leaves for college, she calls me when she gets off the Metro, I know when she is supposed to reach home. Despite keeping tabs, there's no knowing when such things happen," said Krishnan.

"When violence is the response to a relationship gone sour, all I can say is that I doubt it was love to begin with," said Suhrita Basak, another parent.

Krishnan said she knows all her daughter's friends but there is no accounting for chance or causal encounters.

Saradindu Bhaduri, secretary, JNU Teachers Association, described the incident in terms of an emotional shock and the "fallout of the Lyngdoh Commission that destroyed JNU's vibrant political space in which there was intense communication between students as well as students and teachers on various issues and problems. What we are now witnessing is the result of the breakdown of this communication".

Experts call it the signs of desperate times we are living in.

"There's a general culture of greed, a tendency to achieve social or economic success at all costs. Ultimately it's not about a boy or a girl. You just cannot be seen as a failure," said Rajeev Godara, a lawyer.

"A girl may say 'yes' to a relationship and then say 'no' because of her own reasons. The depression that follows is understandable but this is where patriarchy kicks in - how can he be rejected? How can she say no?" said Godara.

A young Karan Pandey dying in police firing on what was alleged to be a mob of stunt bikers, acid attack on a girl at Goregaon railway station in Mumbai in 2012 and BPO employee Neetu Solanki's murder at the hands of his boyfriend in 2011. All these incidents underline the secret lives of the youth in India.

Since most of these crimes are directed against women, psychologist Anup Dhar blames it on the socialization of the boy child in the Indian family. "The boy is pampered, he is not used to hearing 'No'. Also, he has assumed that when an Indian girl says 'no', she means 'yes' - she will just have to be persuaded better or for long enough till she comes around. The possession rhetoric is also strong in men. It's a case of 'whose woman is she?' 'She is mine'," said Dhar.

Violence may not be a jilted lover's first or only response. Bollywood movies are replete with instances of heroes stalking the girl on various modes of transport, across countries, with choice lyrics. Devdas loved Paro, his childhood sweetheart and drank himself to death. He may not have killed her but he was a royal pain. Period.

Vox-Pop
Vishesh Datta, student, Delhi

Crime against women has increased because women are treated as objects by Delhi men.The recent SC verdict on the restriction on the easy availability of acid may bring down the number of acid attacks. The police can no longer show negligence in such cases due to the SC verdict.

Aditi Bhat, student, Delhi
If someone tries to threaten me ever in my life, I would raise my voice by either reporting it to the police or tell my parents or best friends.
Garima Madaan, researcher, Delhi

After hearing about JNU incident, all I can say is there is no humanity left. We can blame Delhi police for not being around, but it is also true that the moment any such incident happens, the blame game starts.

Firas Qazi, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi NCR (Ghaziabad)
People in NCR (mainly Gujjars) grow up in a male dominated society. They are brought up in an environment dominated by khap panchayats. They are taught that men are superior to women. We can blame Delhi culture, but again it is these NCR people/ Gujjars who ruin the environment/ atmosphere of Delhi.


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