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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Women’s safety: Still a long way to go for Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon/Noida/Ghaziabad, December 03, 2013
First Published: 01:52 IST(3/12/2013) | Last Updated: 02:10 IST(3/12/2013)

The gang rape of a young medical student in Delhi last December shook the conscience of the nation. The police, in particular, faced scathing criticism.

The police in Gurgaon — infamous for its many watering holes — took a series of measures to bolster the security of women. It launched several initiatives with women in mind like pink auto-rickshaw services and a cell phone app that enables women to check the credentials of auto drivers.

“We started more than 10 initiatives for the safety of women, including helpdesks at police stations and Metro stations,” said Alok Mittal, the Gurgaon commissioner of police.

But if the confidence of women in their safety and that of their loved ones is a barometer, it’s clear there’s still much more to do.

Gurgaon families admit they are still concerned about their security and that of their children since intra auto and taxi services in the city are not reliable. Sector 40 resident Aparna Sethi, who has two daughters, says: “I pick and drop my daughters from school because bus or cab drivers no longer seem trustworthy.”

Incidentally, the number of rapes reported in Gurgaon till Sunday has risen to 100 from 46 last year. “We are trying to involve more NGOs to prevent crime,” said police commissioner of police Alok Mittal.

Crime rates in Noida, Ghaziabad continue to soar

Last year’s gang rape and the protests that followed helped bring to the forefront the necessity of ensuring the safety of women. But though the Uttar Pradesh police held gender-sensitisation workshops and started booking rape accused under the stringent Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, residents of Noida and Ghaziabad still don’t feel a sense of security.

This is not without reason. The number of crimes reported against women has grown. In Ghaziabad, the number of rapes registered between January and August this year stood at 53, while the figure was 30 during the same period in 2012. In Noida, 21 rape complaints lodged were this year till November 15, up from 19 in the same period last year.

Incidents of stalking and molestation continue to be reported.

Residents complain that few policemen can be seen on the roads. “It is not safe to go out at night. Stalkers and rowdies are regular sights,” said Savita Sharma, a resident of Sector 28, Noida.

It is well known that poorly-planned urban and public spaces facilitate crime. So it’s not very reassuring to find that around 30 per cent of Ghaziabad’s 51,217 street lights don’t work.

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