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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Harassed on Doon buses? Blow whistle to raise alarm

dehradun Updated: Jan 22, 2018 22:30 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Around 1,800 whistles are being installed in city buses, with stickers urging women passengers to blow it if they are harassed on a moving bus.
Around 1,800 whistles are being installed in city buses, with stickers urging women passengers to blow it if they are harassed on a moving bus. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

Move over men whistling at women to “tease” them. It’s now the turn of women to blow the whistle to set the record straight!

The Uttarakhand police on Monday launched a first of its kind initiative where whistles are being installed on city buses in Dehradun to facilitate “safe travel” for women passengers.

Around 1,800 whistles are being affixed to city buses seats, along with stickers pasted on the buses’ interiors urging women passengers to blow the whistle if they’re harassed on a moving bus.

Once alerted, the driver and bus conductor will immediately halt the bus and the miscreants can be caught with the help of other passengers, the police said.

The move titled ‘Project Awaaz’ has been started by the traffic directorate of the Uttarakhand police in association with the Dehradun police, under which 30 whistles each are being installed on 60 city buses.

“Most women do not report cases of harassment on public conveyance, which further emboldens the perpetrators. By installing whistles, we are urging the women to raise their voice against any such harassment... majnuon ki seeti baja den (blow the whistle and blow the lid off the eve teasers’ act),” Kewal Khurana, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the traffic directorate, said.

“We’re also calling upon the fellow passengers to offer prompt help if a woman (in distress) blows the whistle. Action will also be taken against the bus driver and conductor if they don’t react to such an alert immediately,” he said.

Contact numbers of police officials, control room and women help line of the police have also been displayed prominently in the city buses for women to alert police.

Two recent incidents have put the spotlight on the security of women passengers in moving buses in the state capital.

On January 16, four men were arrested by Dehradun police for harassing a woman passenger on a city bus. The accused had even attacked the fellow passengers who tried to intervene their nasty act.

In December 2017, a Doon girl had a harrowing experience on a city bus wherein the driver and conductor of a bus did not allow her to get down at her intended destination late in the evening, following which chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat asked Dehradun police to nab the culprits.

There are around 270 city buses plying in Dehradun on 13 routes, which witness a footfall of about one lakh passengers every day. The move is likely to be extended to all the buses, following feedback of the pilot round.

Activists welcomed the initiative with cautious optimism. “It’s an appreciable initiative and will hopefully encourage more and more girls and women to register protest against harassment on buses. The actual results, however, may only get reflected with time,” Dehradun-based women rights’ activist Kusum Ghildiyal said.

A section of Doon girls, however, were not amused.

“What’s with this seeti bajao campaign? Those who’re hesitant to shout out when harassed may not blow the whistle as well. Awareness and sensitizing women as well as men is the real key here,” Shivani Negi, an engineering graduate, said, adding that step may also get “misused” by miscreants.

In November 2015, the Dehradun city bus association had introduced ‘women cabins’ or separate seating sections for women by installing an iron mesh partition inside the buses, but the move eventually fizzled out.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 22:30 IST

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