NEW DELHI: There is just one place that residents of southeast Delhi’ s Gau tamp uri consider safe — the confines of their small cramped oneroom houses.
As evening sets in, stepping outside their homes to fetch water or even go to the toilet is considered risky.
At 5.30pm on May 13, a 13- year- old girl — battling for her life at AIIMS — had stepped out of her home to fetch water. Locals later found her bleeding and unconscious along the railway tracks near her home. Police have since apprehended a 16-year-old for allegedly raping the minor and then trying to kill her with a sharp object.
Many adolescent girls HT spoke to on Thursday said they felt unsafe every time they stepped out at night but they have no option. They have no taps or toilets in their houses.
A 16-year-old girl said: “The area we go to fetch water is dark and it is difficult to travel alone over a kilometre everyday just to get water. We have to take someone with us if we want to go out at night. The area is not safe. The men here often harass women.”
Residents said they do not have water connections and depend on water tankers that cannot enter the narrow lanes of the neighbourhood.
Sunil Kumar, a general store owner, said: “The houses we live in are very small because of which it is impossible to build a toilet in them. Women have to travel around 1km everyday to fetch water for their family and the condition of public toilets here are worse than a pile of garbage. Due to these problems, women are forced to go out at night in search of toilets, which makes them prone to rapes and abductions.”
Kumar said most residents were daily wage labourers and migrants and men get drunk every evening. “After getting drunk, these people create nuisance and end up fighting with someone or the other. Women face domestic abuse and are not safe in our locality.”
HT on Thursday visited the railway tracks where the victim was found injured. Residents said the area around the railway track has become a den of addict. The problem becomes acute due to the absence of proper lighting.
A man walking near the railway tracks, who claimed to be a local resident, said: “Young boys come near the railway track to consume alcohol and take drugs. It is easy for them to molest anyone. All our women and children go to the railway tracks because there are no proper toilet facilities. This makes them vulnerable.”