The landlocked district of Ladakh has emerged as a safe haven for women with negligible crime reported against them being reported.
“Women are safe in Leh. No complaints of eve-teasing are ever registered in our police stations. Domestic violence is very rare,” claims Leh deputy superintendent of police Sonam Dutchin.
Leh has never registered a bride-burning case, unlike other districts of the state. There is no custom of dowry here.
Only two rape cases have been registered in the past 15 months and locals attribute it to labourers’ influx.
Most shops in Leh are run by women and 30% traffic is regulated by women police, according to the local police.
“There is no suppression of women and they can easily mix with men without eyebrows being raised,” said Tenzin Joldan, a retired principal of a government women’s college.
First all-women travel agency
For women empowerment, Ladakh has launched country’s first all-women travel agency, Women's Travel Company.
“We make tourists stay at homes on trekking route. Women serve food to the trekkers and all our guides are women,” said Thinlas Chorol (31), a woman guide.
The safety aspect has attracted female tourists from all over the world.
Among 17,765 foreign tourists, who visited the Ladakh region this year, more than 50% were women.
The women of Leh have a grudge though. “Political and religious spheres continue to be dominated by men,” said Joldan.
Of the 30 councillors of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, only two women --- Tsering Angmo and Tashi Angmoare --- figure in the powerful body.