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Make Delhi zero tolerance zone, say experts

HT had invited a distinguished panel of speakers to discuss 'How to Make Delhi Safe for Women'.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2003 13:37 IST

A diplomat raped in her car, a college student sexually assaulted by Presidential bodyguards in a park, a nurse raped in a hospital ward, a 13-year-old patient raped by her doctor, all in the space of a month. In Delhi's markets, roads, buses, parking lots, and hospitals, women feel increasingly unsafe.

The trend needs to be resisted. So we at the

Hindustan Times

, through the My Delhi/ My HT platform, decided to take the initiative to find solutions, to look beyond the usual finger pointing. In association with

Zee News

, we invited a distinguished panel of speakers and an equally distinguished audience to discuss 'How to Make Delhi Safe for Women'.

The panellists included Delhi's Commissioner of Police RS Gupta, senior advocate Harish Salve, actress Nandita Das, activist Brinda Karat and media expert Santosh Desai. The audience comprised police officers, lawyers, student leaders, professionals, designers and women's rights activists. They heard a rape victim tell her heart-rending story.

"The local administration was looking for excuses to pick on me."
Rape victim recalls nightmare

There was near unanimity among the panelists. The mantra is zero tolerance for crimes against women, starting with eve-teasing, which is sexual harassment by another name — and the task of enforcing this lies as much with Delhi's men as its women.

If Delhi is to become safe for women, eve teasing and rape should not remain women's issue, to be fought by women activists alone. Feminism may have killed chivalry, but men must fight on behalf of women. Panelists agreed that eve teasers should be firmly dealt with, so that they do not become rapists.

This initiative does not end with discussion. The objective is to formulate a 'Draft Declaration' culled from the suggestions from panelists, the audience, and our readers, and present it to the Prime Minister.

Readers are invited to send their suggestions to

Details of the discussion are on the Hindustan Times website and will be there for a month. Zee News will telecast it on Sunday at 9.30 am and again later in the day.

Nandita Das: Each of us has experienced something like this.

Brinda Karat: There is a need for more honesty ... This conspiracy of silence must end.

RS Gupta: The eve-teaser in Kolkata risks being lynched; in Delhi all turn their heads away.

Harish Salve: We need to nip the rapist in the bud.

First Published: Nov 02, 2003 00:00 IST