Assurances of the city police notwithstanding, women in Chandigarh continue to be as unsafe as ever. This fact was proven beyond any reasonable doubt when Hindustan Times decided to check it out for itself and its lady reporter stood alone near Arts College in Sector 10 this afternoon.
In just about half an hour, more than 10 vehicles stopped - some to offer lift and others just to take a chance. At least seven other vehicles made repeated rounds to pass lewd comments. Ironically, most of the vehicles bore Punjab registration number.
One silver Skoda bearing Punjab registration number in particular made five rounds of the spot, before one of the three youngsters rolled down to ask the HT reporter if she needed whether help was required. However, a curt reply of no thanks was not deterrent for them and they came back with an offer: "If you are waiting for someone, we can drop you." When the youngster was told that his presence was unwanted and the wait was in fact for someone else, he mischievously questioned "for whom?" The car kept roaming in the area for another 10 minutes as if to see whom the lady reporter was waiting for.
Four other youngsters in a white Chevrolet Optra bearing Punjab number also made it their business to check why a girl was walking down the road alone. Reducing the speed of the vehicle to match her pace, the car trudged ahead slowly. For nearly five minutes, the youngsters kept stalking this reporter before parking the car just ahead of her to gauge the reaction. The volume of songs went up as the windows rolled down and what followed was an inquiring stare from the occupants.
At least one more car stopped with the occupants asking the reporter to accompany them. Another car came too close for comfort before coming to a screeching halt. With loud music blaring, the youngsters honked and even flashed headlights at the reporter. All this while, not even a single cop could be spotted in the area that is said to be prone to eve-teasing.
MAIN ROADS SAFER BET
The scene close to CITCO's Stop-n-Stare was no different, where a car drove on to two girls riding a scooter from the wrong side to evoke a reaction from them. A re-enactment of the scene at the Sector 15 bus stop near the petrol pump showed that main roads were comparatively safer, as cars here too slowed down to stare but no one dared to stop or pass comments. In fact, at the bus stop the boys kept staring but didn't try to broach a conversation.