Women in Ludhiana feel safer in malls rather than on city roads where they are exposed to all kinds of comments and eve teasing. There are at least six major malls in the city and same number of clubs. All these establishments have made special security arrangements, especially for women, inside the premises.
Generally talking about women security and safety in shopping malls, hotels, clubs and discos, it seems to be much better as compared to many other public places. However, to check the ground reality, HT correspondents visited such places during this week. Men staring at women is common just like other public places, but no case of eve teasing was noticed inside shopping malls, clubs and discos.
However, a group of boys was teasing three girls, who were going towards the malls entrance, outside Wave Mall (formerly known as Westend Mall) located at the Ferozepur Road on Friday evening. The girls, in turn, turned a blind eye towards their remarks.
This is also common outside other malls in the city, including all big and small malls. Moreover, it has also been observed that young boys in groups usually keep standing outside the malls and on seeing a girl or group of girls, they start passing comments.
"These days, malls seem to be the favourite spot among boys especially for those who want to tease girls. However, it seems due to presence of security inside the malls, they prefer to tease girls outside. Also, they stand at a common point from where everyone passes," said a group of girl students at Silver Arc mall on Sunday.
As we entered the mall, the group of boys that was teasing the girls outside acted innocent and did nothing that could offend the girls. Reason being a strong fleet of men and women who keep an eye over individuals entering the malls.
Similarly "electronic eyes" (CCTVs) keep an eye on everyone at another city mall MBD Neopolis on the Ferozepur Road. When we entered the mall, most of the families and gilrs were roaming safely in the mall withouot any fear.
It was learnt from a staff member that in case of eve teasing, that was a rare phenomena at the mall, the teasers are asked to leave the mall and police complaint is also lodged if necessary.
Vinita Bansal, who had come along with her friends at the mall told us, "It is very safe to be inside a mall rather than to be on the streets where you are vulnerable to such crimes. Here, the security guards and CCTVs are watching over you and deter miscreants from eve teasing."
On the other hand, the situation at clubs is also similar, where girls and women are rarely harassed due to teasing.
As we entered high-profile Satluj Club, along with a member friend, we were convinced that it was not easy for anyone to enter the club.
We sat in the lawns of the club and noticed the behaviour of the people visiting the club. A large number of elderly persons had come to the club on Saturday evening. Elderly didn't seem to be involved in eve teasing, at least inside the club.
Amrik Singh, an elderly citizen, told us that all the members of the club are acquaintance and it would become difficult for him if he targets a woman in any way.
The police is always on its toes to ensure safety of women and public in general, both outside and inside the city malls. We remain active as PCR vehicles are usually parked outside the malls, clubs and during other functions in the city. In the evening hours, SHOs of respective areas check if officials in the PCR vehicles are vigilant enough. Women staff is also deployed at these places and we also inspect malls from time to time.
Naveen Singla, DCP .
A strict watch is kept by our trained staff, including men and women staff, on people who enter the mall keeping in mind his or her privacy. No one could enter our mall with a weapon. If anyone brings it with him, it is deposited at the main entrance. Special attention is paid to the safety of women inside the mall premises, miscreants are immediately told to leave the premises in case of complaint by any female visitor regarding eve teasing.
Manav Inder Singh Guram, manager, marketing and communications, MBD Group