Several women in Bhopal agreed with badminton star Saina Nehwal's view that the women were not safe on roads or streets and Madhya Pradesh was no exception.
Saina Nehwal, who was in the state capital on Tuesday to attend the Khel Alankaran Samaroh, said that she felt insecure while moving out of her home after reading news of rape, sexual harassment and other crime against women.
The data obtained from woman helpline-1090 suggests that Madhya Pradesh is one of the most unsafe states for women in the country. About 36,357 complaints have been registered till November 30 since the helpline came into existence on January 1, 2013. The complaints include rapes, attempt to rape, sexual harassment and other crimes.
Seema Chouhan, a housewife, said "Everyday we read two to three reports in newspapers about rape or attempt to rape. It is true that women are not safe."
If going by the data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)-2013, Madhya Pradesh has been ranked top in rape and molestation cases. According to data, a total of 4,335 rape cases were registered while 8,252 molestation cases were registered.
Archana Singh, who works with a private firm said, "Women are harassed everywhere whether it be the working places, markets, streets or public transports. Most of the women do not report the matter to police as they want to avoid it. There is need to spread awareness among people. And, there is also the need that women should also be aware about their safety," she further said.
Another woman, Milan Pandey, said, "Rising incidents of crime against women has made me more concerned about my daughters. I really get scared, when I see news regarding crime against women. However, I feel Bhopal is a bit safe as such cases are reported less compared other cities of the country here," she said.
"I too feel unsafe on the streets when I go home at night from office. There is a need to change the mentality of people. It is not possible to deploy police everywhere. The community policing should be promoted. I think, the community policing will be able to curb crime against women more effectively," Prarthana Mishra, a women activist said.
"The women are not secure in our society. There is a need to frame a strict law and enforce it. In other countries, women are free to walk on the streets even at night because of their strict law," said Ruma Bhattacharya, psychiatrist and a member of Crime Against Women Cell.
"I can't negate Saina Nehwal's words. Through helplines, women cell and proper patrolling, we can check crime in our states. We are making all efforts to put a tab on crimes against women but there is a need to change the mentality of society," said Aruna Mohan Rao, additional director general of police, Crime Against Women Cell of Madhya Pradesh Police.