Dear chief minister, lieutenant governor and police commissioner
You run the city I grew up in. You must be familiar with all corners of the Capital but I want to tell you something that you can never experience for yourself.
One night while I was walking towards Pragati Maidan after a hectic day at work, I was regretfully carefree. A smirking teenager, with unkempt hair, was coming from the opposite side, like a hundred others going in and out of the Metro station. All of a sudden he pinched my breast and sprinted away. I shrieked. My eyes welled up. My colleague looked at me. So did the pedestrians around. The unlit stretch under Tilak Bridge made sure they had seen nothing. “He tried to snatch my bag,” I said and walked on. I had no guts to tell I was molested by a young boy, a stone’s throw from the Police Headquarters.
That was three years ago. I haven’t walked that road again. But I still talk about it whenever my women colleagues discuss Delhi.
“Many years ago, I had to jump off a moving bus when a man dressed for office, carrying a briefcase, flashed at me. I broke my leg but couldn’t say a word,” a senior colleague once narrated, giving goose bumps to the new kids.
A young colleague shared, “Just last week, I stepped out of Malviya Nagar station. It was a 10-minute walk to my house on a bright street around 9.30 pm. Near PVR Anupam, two men on a bike shouted ‘chinky’. Two others joined them.” Despite her little stature, she is known to shut people up. That night she tried hard not to break down.
Three years have passed since the 23-year-old student was gang raped in a moving bus. Her rape raised many voices, louder than ever before. But Dear Mr commissioner, we still prefer to stay quiet. We’ve been taught to do that. Not by our mothers but by the nature of the city. Meenakshi had raised her voice in Anand Parbat. She was killed in broad daylight.
My young friend would have shouted that night had she seen a PCR van around. I know you have only 800 of them. Your plan to introduce all-women PCR vans at Vasant Kunj can be a game-changer and I appreciate the thought. I know you cannot secure every inch of the Capital but you can make more efforts to make us secure.
Whenever I go home, I see pickets manned by a lone constable with a lathi in hand and I end up praying for them. How will they match those men on bikes and cars with knives or guns?
Mr CM, the police need your help. Would you please work together for our sake? Can you commit yourself to giving a face and voice to the women in Delhi? There are nearly eight lakh working women and over one third use public transport. Can you bring in more buses and autos so that we can step out anytime without a hint of fear?
Police can prevent a crime. You can prevent the making of a criminal. Do you mind starting early and counselling those boys so that they learn to respect women?
My dear L-G, we need more policemen. There are dark stretches that need streetlights. We need buses on all routes. We need programmes for social engineering so that men respect women. Those already held should get strict punishment as a deterrent. You can make it happen. If not for us, please do it for the city.
I am sure you love Delhi the way I did. I mostly fear it now.
With trust in you
A girl from Delhi