Till the Dhaula Kuan gang rape incident, the police establishment of the Capital had been living in denial about the rising safety concerns faced by female employees of the burgeoning BPO industry on a daily basis.
The incident triggered the fear of law across the corporate sector with employers being made responsible for the safety of their female employees much beyond normal working hours through specially formulated guidelines.
And the result is: Not even a single cab driver or operator was booked for violating these norms this year.
“It was a case of perfect teamwork. We learnt a lot about the safety hazards women faced and followed them up with steps to ensure that something like this would never happen again,” said HGS Dhaliwal, who was then DCP (south) and is now posted as the additional CP of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW).
It was Delhi Police’s first tryst with scientific investigation of sexual crime. The case transformed a non-descript police post at Dhaula Kuan Kuan — a major transit point for inbound interstate traffic from Haryana — into a fully-staffed police station.
After the incident took place, on December 2, 2010, the Delhi Police issued orders to its mobile units to follow BPO cabs to their destinations.
This was reportedly done after the investigation team, led by Dhaliwal, examined the visuals of the vehicle of the accused stopping behind the BPO cab in which the victim had been travelling. The car seemed to be waiting for her to get off so that they could abduct her.
The safety guidelines were formulated and discussed during a meeting of the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch with call centre operators.
At that time, according to police estimates, more than 2,700 call centre cabs plying during the risqué graveyard shift had been checked in the first three nights in south Delhi alone.
A day later, the Delhi Police had announced that not dropping female employees at their doorstep was punishable under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
“We had started booking travel operators and some company operation managers for not following the BPO guidelines, but we don’t do so anymore,” admitted a senior police officer.
According to the Delhi Police, not even a single arrest has been made for flouting these rules throughout this year.