Thousands of students, including girls, throng Rani Ka Bagh area everyday even at night to take up coaching classes for Classes 11 and 12 boards and various engineering and medical competitive examinations has made the locality unsafe for girls — both students and residents — who are forced to put up with eve-teasing and other problems in the absence of proper policing.
The problem is deepening with mushrooming coaching centres day by day, whereas police have failed to react to the situation. They have set up a naka (barricade) and give knee-jerk reaction if a complaint comes their way.
While speaking to Hindustan Times, a number of girl students highlighted the problem of increasing eve-teasing faced by them, and urging the police authorities to make them feel secured, especially in early morning, high noon and late in the evening (night).
Shivan Mehra, a medical student, said, “What the police authorities are waiting for? Are they waiting for some untoward incident to happen before providing adequate policing in the locality? Things start from eve-teasing and result into horrifying incidents. We want police to ensure our safety, and also make us feel safe and secured by being around. Empty streets invite unsocial elements, thus patrolling by cops should be increased.”
“My father drops me at the centre around 5.45am for the 6am batch. My friends and I have been a victim of eve-teasing as boys roaming around in cars stop and humiliate us by asking us to sit in their cars. As there are no police around, we feel it’s best to ignore the rowdy elements. However, their humiliating comments disturb us while even studying,” she added.
Uttamjeet Singh, a teacher at Wisdom Academy, said they had a gunman and a bouncer at the gate for the students. “We have CCTV cameras in our parking, but it can record a limited area. We know that girls face problems, but they don’t feel comfortable talking about it. If women cops are deployed in beat boxes, they can be approached,” Uttamjeet Singh added.
Mostly cops are deployed outside Mata Mandir, even as other areas remain venerable to petty crimes. Gurpreet Singh Bawa, owner of Bawa College, said: “Police patrolling will definitely help, but I request the parents to accompany their daughters to the coaching, especially at odd hours, as not only the streets but even public transports are unsafe.”
Tejinder Kaur Sandhu, a non-medical student, feels police are busy at nakas or making money by harassing students. “The other thing that keeps the cops busy is checking parked cars, in which students are sitting and chatting. I don’t say that that doesn’t need to be checked, but their focus should be strict on hooligans and safety of girls. This would fetch them more respect.”
“It has become tough for us to stand outside the coaching centre with our friends as passersby pass comments and also follow us in the streets, thus patrolling should be increased. All we can ask the police authorities for patrolling outside coaching centres so that unsocial elements are cautious of their presence and we are safe,” said Rashmi Arora, a student.
Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh told HT: “Beat boxes will immediately be installed. Also, I will have a meeting with the police officers concerned of the area and direct them to increase patrolling in the entire Rani Ka Bagh area. PCRs with women cops will also be taking rounds that will make girls comfortable and approachable. We will deploy more women cops in the area to make girls safe. Their safety is our priority.”