The growing instances of sexual harassment of women migrant labourers - including horrific encounters of sexual assault and stalking - in the royal city has raised serious concerns.
Women of vulnerable section of society - living in slums and working as domestic help - rued that they were subject to harassment on daily basis, yet security was not provided to them.
Owing to indifferent attitude of the law enforcing agencies and lack of awareness among women migrant labourers, frequency of abuse has been increasing steadily; however, the issue by and large remains unaddressed.
Kanti Devi, a migrant labour from Patna, said: “Every night drunkard men harass women living in slums. They abuse and assault them publicly, but fearing the consequence nobody raises their voice against them.”
While women living near Rajindra Lake, right under the nose of laws enforcement agencies, said orphan teenager girls were lifted by hooligans at night. And after assaulting them sexually, they threw them on streets the next morning.
Balwinder Kaur, a Sherwala Gate resident, said: “Rajindra Lake is an isolated area. There are inadequate streetlights due to apathy of the municipal corporation as a result of which women living in the area become a soft target of hooligans.”
Ram Devi, a migrant labourer from Uttar Pradesh, said: “Not only locals, but even police harass us. They beat and abuse women and young girls. We have no support from any side. Even our family members tell us not to complain against them otherwise they would torture us more.”
The women migrant workers' population comprises a large chunk of workforce in the city, however, due to apathy of the authorities they are being subject to abuse, including psychological, physical and economical.
There are many women labourers living under the dark shadow of it.
Babita Devi, 20-year-old, recounts her horrific trauma of being abandoned by her family: “I have gone through severe mental and physical torture; often, men on the pretext of getting me job, harassed me. They often pinch, slap and beat me daily.”
However, when the police authorities were asked about it, they said that they were not aware of the issue.
According to information, not a single sexual harassment case against women migrant labourers was registered by police.
Patiala superintendent of police (SP) (city) Daljit Singh Rana said: “I was not aware of the issue, as we have not received any complaints from the area. However, I will personally look into the case and get the culprits booked.”
While police wait for women labourers to get their complaints registered, the women continue to suffer.
Tall claims of the police authorities of having functional special cells and helplines for women safety have fallen flat, as most of the victims are unaware of the services and living under the shadow of fear.