When we asked the citys working women how safe the city is for them

Bangalore and Gurgaon have always been compared for their burgeoning population of youngsters,many of whom come from other cities and towns to fill the IT and ITeS needs of the city.Apart from this,both cities are a cultural melting pot of sorts,and they are also compared for their nightlife.However,while Bangalore has had its share of problems with its nightlife extensions,the recent rape of a woman working in a pub in Gurgaon and the subsequent move by the Gurgaon police telling women there not to work after 8 pm has disturbed the city of Bangalore,which compares itself to Gurgaon in many ways.


A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by 11 miscreants after they thrashed her friend and tied him to a tree.The woman was dragged to a cemetery and raped repeatedly before they robbed her and the friend and left.Fearing social stigma,the woman did not file a rape case with the police.
Safety is not a concern only when women travel with their friends on twowheelers late at night;women who work late hours prefer to get home in company vehicles rather than take an autorickshaw.Lily Haokip,an air hostess with a private airline,says,Its not safe for a woman to travel alone at night,especially in an auto. Similar sentiments are echoed by Vivienne Rodriguez,a call centre employee who works late nights.She says,It is only because my company provides transport that I know I am safe.Otherwise,I generally dont venture out on my own at night.In certain areas,street lights are not on and auto drivers harass me.
But its not only about women who are dependent on autos;women who have their own vehicles also face safety challenges.Sana Azad,a media professional who has her own mode of transport,has had her safety threatened.She says,Though Bangalore is safe to travel at night compared to other cities in the country,I would still say that its not a great option for a woman to travel all by herself.Being a media person,it is natural for us to work late nights and there are times when drunken people stop us unnecessarily,posing as cops and even try misbehaving with us. Sana adds that you should always be aware of the fact that you could be followed at any time.One never knows who is making a note of what.There are stalkers who follow you till your doorstep, she says.
There are times when women have tried posing as guys while riding their bikes.However,Sana adds,There are people in the city who are willing to help you in times of need.Once,a guy volunteered to help me when a drunken man was trying to make conversation with me in the middle of the night.
Model Viraja Achar,who depends on her bike to get around the city,was groped at a traffic signal during the day.It was awful,but thanks to my father,we got hold of the guy, she says,adding,I want to know why there are no buses plying after 11 pm.What if the cab one is travelling in breaks down Theres nothing other than autos to depend on.


City-based designer Ritu Pande thinks that the measure adopted by the Gurgaon authorities is a statement of failure.She says,Its an extremely disturbing statement and I am outraged at this.Instead of adopting more safety measures,they are restricting womens working hours.It does not inspire confidence.Women make up the 50% of the population and it shows infrastructure failure when you cant provide them security. She adds,Bangalore was the first city in the country to adopt an 11.30 pm deadline and I am sure that if something of that sort happens here,then the authorities will insist on making sure that women dont work past 8 pm here as well.
But for actor Ragini Dwivedi,working till 8 pm might just be good news for women.Then I can get off work early and go and party, she says,adding,The Gurgaon incident was unfortunate,but I dont think that time is a factor since many areas in Gurgaon are not safe even during the day.
CEO of a city-based BPO,Karthik Pillai says,People with retrograde attitudes want to stop women from working late.On one hand,you talk about equality of men and women,and on the other,we are saying that they cannot work when and where they want. He adds,Instead,work towards improving law and order,if one has to attack a woman,it can be done during the day.Does this mean that women shouldnt work during the day either How can the country expect more investors if the authorities have such an attitude
Kirin Singh,a public relations professional in the city,says,8 pm is just not an acceptable deadline for women to work.
Top cop Dayanand B,joint commisioner of police,crime (Bangalore East) says,Limiting working hours till 8 pm (for women) might not work because the presumption itself of curtailing work hours is not right.

What cops say

Sunil Kumar,additional commissioner of police,law and order Last year,the crime rate against women definitely came down.We definitely advise travellers to avoid lonely areas late at night and not to travel alone.Patrolling is being organized.Organizations that have more women employees have been asked to provide them security.If you go clubbing and drink,do not drive back home alone. Pronav Mohanty,joint commissioner of police,crime (Bangalore West) The statistics that we have are highly unreliable since more than half the cases go unreported.Many such issues go unaddressed,so to arrest such issues we need to get them reported or else the person committing the crime will go on with his game thinking he hasnt been caught.


Posted March 17, 2012 by avinash2060 in Current Affairs


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