Eve-teasing, harassment of women continues unabated in Patiala; but cops think otherwise
Tall claims of success of the police here to safeguard the honour of women seem to have fallen flat as women in the royal city continue to suffer humiliation right under the eyes of police authorities as no action is taken against the culprits.punjab Updated: Nov 28, 2013 00:00 IST
Tall claims of success of the police here to safeguard the honour of women seem to have fallen flat as women in the royal city continue to suffer humiliation right under the eyes of police authorities as no action is taken against the culprits.
The anti-goonda squad, whose members disguise themselves in civilian clothes and keep a tab on the activities of miscreants at public places to ensure safety of women, does not seem to have much impact as there are no women members in it.
Moreover, the squad has barely nabbed any eve-teaser or assaulter so far and brought to book. Sub Inspector (SI) Kuldip Singh Sekhon, in-charge of the squad, claimed, "There are hardly any cases of eve-teasing in the city and as per the requirement we do demand female staff from other wings but we do not have any permanent recruits in the squad."
However, contrary to the claims of the special squad, women across the city complained that cases of eve-teasing, public harassment and chain snatchings were at an ever-high at various areas of the city.
A student from a government educational institute, sharing her horrific encounter on the condition of anonymity with HT, said, "Last year a group of men kidnapped me from outside my college during broad daylight and harassed me, and later threw me outside the college. However, even after running from pillar to post for a year, I haven't got any justice because the case involved high profile people."
Call it insensitivity of men in 'khaki' or the confidence of hooligans, the women in the royal city continue to be subjected to public harassment and assault, whether the police notice or not.
Hindustan Times spoke to a cross section of women and asked them to identify the places that they considered unsafe. Many women named the areas which have become favourite haunts of goons where they come with the aim of enjoying themselves by indulging in eve-teasing and the women feel most unsafe there.
This commercial hub area is known as 'Geri Route' among youngsters and is one of the most vulnerable places for women. As showrooms of branded clothes, mobile phones, eateries and Thapar University are located here, it is visited by women from the entire city and the presence of male youngsters in groups at every nook and cranny, especially in the evening, creates fear among girls. Special women cops have been deployed in the area to infuse a sense of security among women, but a large number of snatching incidents in the area remains a matter of worry among the police too.
This residential area houses Government Polytechnic for Girls and Shivalik Public School. The area is located at the periphery of the city and is a deserted one. Due to minimal policing in the area it is prone to eve-teasing, harassment and chain snatching cases. Women complained that even during broad daylight, incidents of eve-teasing usually occur frequently outside the college and during early morning and late evening hours chain snatching cases are common here.
Bus stand area
Despite a police post situated right outside the bus stand, it is a vulnerable spot for women as a large number of eve-teasing and harassment cases have been reported from here. Culprits are often seen passing vulgar comments on girls and forcing conversation with them. During late evening hours, the presence of men in large numbers, including male police personnel, makes the area a nightmare for women. Most women said that they were in most cases harassed and teased by elder men while travelling.
The city's reputed and biggest government women college and schools are situated in this area. A large number of incidents of eve-teasing, especially at the time of closure of schools and the college, have forced the city police to deploy several policemen in this area. Nabbing eve-teasers and awarding on-the-spot 'punishment' to them by the cops has become a routine in the area, still youngsters can be spotted in the area on their 'new bikes' to impress eves.
The oldest government college and national sports coaching institute is located in this area. Colloquially, it is known as "Loafers Point" as several young men can be seen here, especially during college hours. Heavy traffic on the road has made it more vulnerable for girls as several incidents of eve-teasing have been reported from the area. Though female policemen have been deployed on the road to keep watch on male youngsters, however on daily basis many cases of eve-teasing are reported from here.
VOX POP: Curbing harassment of women
An HT-IDC survey on women safety has revealed that 34% women in Chandigarh, capital city of Punjab, feel that strong punitive measures are required to check sexual harassment of women and another 24% favour the deployment of more policewomen at various places.
A minuscule number of respondents (less than 1%) favour the use of electronic eye -- CCTV cameras -- at public places. Do you agree?
What immediate steps, according to you, are needed to check sexual harassment in your city?Renu Vohra (teacher): The only way to curtail the number of increasing cases of harassment of women is by changing the mindset of the people and police authorities. Police patrolling should be increased, especially around educational institutes and public areas. More women cops should be deployed. Self-defence classes should be introduced at the school level.
Vineeta Tandon (principal): More awareness campaigns about special women cells and helplines should be held at educational institutes and rural areas. CCTV cameras should be installed at public places. Parents should encourage their daughters to speak out and complain to the authorities if they are undergoing any sort of harassment. Until and unless people start reporting the nuisance, it will continue to grow.Ritu Jain (homemaker): Police authorities must conduct counselling sessions at schools and inform the young vulnerable section about their rights and should restore faith of the people in the system. Special women harassment committees should be set in every educational institute where students can report about harassment. At public places CCTV cameras must be installed.
Monica Walia (lecturer): Women should inform their family and report to the authorities concerned immediately. Being silent victims only increases the confidence of culprits. Harassment and sexual assault cases should be given speedy trials. If justice is delivered in time people will start reporting. No political interference should be allowed in such cases.Manpreet Kaur (lecturer): The police authorities should be sensitised about dealing with women. The women cops should be given special training so that they are able to nab the culprits. More patrolling should be done near crime-prone areas. In deserted areas, street lighting should be work without fail. Eve-teasers should also be sentenced to jail terms.Veerpal Kaur (student): Self-defence classes should be made mandatory in academic curriculum. More awareness camps about different types of harassment should be conducted so that women know about it if they are subjected to it. The real problem is that many women are ignorant about the definition of harassment and that is the reason they never report about it.Navneet Kaur (student): Women should not feel scared of men. A girl should be groomed in such a manner that she doesn't feel scared of confronting men. Police authorities should conduct special camps at educational institutes to restore faith of youngsters in them. Patrolling should be increased outside every institute and police must not just give warning and leave culprits but should book them.
Ranjit Kaur Punia (student): Police authorities should be given special counselling on how to deal with women. They should be made more sensitive and their conduct should be improved. Parents must also support their daughters and encourage them to report the matter of harassment of any type to the authorities rather than advising them to be silent victims. The mindset of the society should be changed.Saira Mehta (professor): Police authorities just warn and leave eve- teasers, however if they start punishing them, a much-needed message would be sent across. The youth today feel that they can easily get away even after troubling and harassing girls until a fear is set in their mind they won't stop. Parents and educationalists need to impart moral values in youngsters so that they start respecting the dignity of women.