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Let’s mend that gap

entertainment Updated: Apr 21, 2011 01:01 IST
Vaishali Bhambri

A recent survey by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation may have said that 93% commuters are happy with it, but not everyone agrees. On Wednesday morning, a flash mob of citizens got together to protest against the Delhi Metro, claiming that it is promoting a gender divide.

Organised by a Delhi-based group called Please Mend The Gap, the mob — comprising strangers — gathered at the Saket Metro Station at 8.20am, with participants wearing yellow tees bearing slogans such as ‘Metro badnaam hui zaalim tere liye’ and ‘Share and don’t stare’.
Explaining the protest, Malini Kochupillai, 27, one of the organisers, said, “The Metro is actually making the gender gap worse. Today, the assumption is that women should stick to the pink coach if they want to be safe. That is unfair, there should be equality and equal space throughout.” “The other four coaches of the Metro are now being called ‘all men’s coaches’. That was not the idea when the pink coach began,” says Amrita Anand, 24, who works with an NGO.

Last month, Dharini Bhaskar, 27, who works with a publishing house, was slapped by a man on the metro. “When I asked for help, the men around said, ‘It’s your fault. Why did you come to the general coach when you have your own?’ I was shocked at the mindset,” she says, explaining why she participated in the protest.

“Though we were silent, we generated a lot of curiosity. This was just the first of many protests we have planned,” says Jacob Cherian, a co-organiser.

However, the DMRC seems surprised. “When we started the pink coach, a lot of male passengers protested as they thought it was unfair. But, as far as we know, women are happy with it,” says DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal.

Path of the protest
* 8.20am: Protesters gather at the Saket Metro Station. They call themselves ‘agents’ and hide their yellow tees under shirts
* 8.35am: Agents board the Metro to Jehangirpuri and stand separately, pretending to not know each other
* 8.45am: At a secret signal, they start revealing the yellow tees with slogans
* 9.20am: The mob alights at Rajiv Chowk and stands in a human chain at the platform. They repeat the same at Kashmere Gate
Throughout the journey, the protesters talk to co-passengers about their movement

What is a Flash Mob?
A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble unannounced at a public place, perform an unusual act briefly and then quickly disperse. The aim is to generate curiosity and awareness about a cause. In March, DU students held one against corruption.