Residents of Gamdevi in Santacruz (East) are afraid to let their children out of the house without supervision.
As the news of the alleged gangrape of a 13-year-old girl started to spread, many locals expressed concern for the safety of the women and children in their neighbourhood.
“They [the accused] are men from our area. If they’ve done that to her [the victim], what are the chances that me or my daughter are safe? And it is not just about our neighbourhood. No place in the country seems safe now,” said an apprehensive local, who did not wish to be named.
The Class 7 student was allegedly gang-raped by four men on Thursday after they spiked her drink during a party.
The police arrested Bipin Singh, Sachin Yadav, Venkateysh Naidu and Mellwyn D’souza, and a 16-year-old friend of the victim, who allegedly took her to one of the accused’s house for the party.
Manohar Joshi, 46, another resident, said he was worried that people were turning more perverse each day.
“It is unfortunate to hear of such incidents so often. Our society is just getting worse and we need to take some immediate steps to assure that women and young children are safe from these heinous crimes and the criminals.”
He added, “We are now going to think twice before letting our children leave home without supervision. Earlier, we would never hear of such crimes. But now the safety of our women and young children is on the line.”
Many residents said there was need to increase police patrolling in the area, which may help bring down the rate of crime. Also, the police presence will act as a deterrent for unruly elements.
Another demand by the locals was stringent action against the five involved in the rape of the young girl.
“Rapes are a heinous crime in every regard. But I fail to understand the sick mentality of people who target minors. I think we need to convene a meeting of the elders in the locality and discuss the issue so that youngsters are sensitised against such crimes,” said another resident.
The police said that the girl was subjected to a medical test and they were waiting for the reports.