It’s a nondescript turn right at the end of the BRT corridor in Chirag Dilli. If you happen to take this turn, you’ll be welcomed by phat phat sewa vehicles and e-rickshaws into an area concerned unsafe for women.
Two-wheeler riders care little for rules giving a miss to helmets and other traffic rules. What puts brakes on these rash drivers are cattle that is left free to roam on the roads.
This isn’t a village or a small town far away from the city. This is Ambedkar Nagar, Delhi 62 — less than five kilometres from the chic Select Citywalk mall in Saket.
The area recorded 25 rapes in 2014 earning it the disrepute of being highly unsafe for women. Spread over an area of about 9km, Ambedkar Nagar is densely populated -- over six lakh people, most of them lower-middle class, live here. It is also one of the three areas that reported the most rape cases in 2014.
But a closer look at the crime figures, however, complicates the picture.
Of the 25 rape cases registered in 2014, at least six victims turned hostile and the accused were acquitted. The other cases are pending trial. In 2013, 15 rape cases were filed of which six accused have already been acquitted.
“The figures make us look bad. Someone should do a study on the rape cases. Women from nearby posh areas, think twice before coming here. By law these are rape cases but in the real sense of the word they may not be,” an officer said.
About 20 victims in 2014 alleged sex on the promise of marriage as the ground for rape.
Experts believe the trend of relationships going wrong which turn into rape is worrying. Advocate Kapil Sankhla, who has handled several such cases, said the new rape law does not have proper checks and balances. “In May, I handled four such rape cases, one of which was a result of financial dispute and another was a result of marriage proposal refusal. There should be a strong deterrent if the victim’s complaint is proved to be false,” he said.
Kalpana Viswanath, who has conducted safety audits of public spaces in Delhi, said one cannot decide an area is safe for women just by looking at the statistics. “One should not look at the safety of women in a particular area just by analysing the figures of rape. There are different forms of violence against women. Our research has shown that there are numerous cases of sexual harassment which are also serious in nature. And this is one trend we observed even in posh areas such as Vasant Vihar. “
The infrastructure at Ambedkar Nagar is almost similar to outer Delhi’s Aman Vihar, where the highest rape cases were registered in 2014. “Many cases of harassment and molestation go unreported. This is a crime which should be taken seriously,” she said.
Read: For Delhi women, danger lurks even at home