The outrage caused by the Delhi gang rape has manifested itself in Patna in the form of protests and rallies, as eve-teasing is rampant in the state capital, too.
The Telegraph team spoke to school- and college-going girls and working women, who narrated the mental trauma they face on a daily basis and the frustration and helplessness they feel when the eve-teasers go away scot-free. The names of the girls have been changed to protect them.
Pooja Sharma, 22, a Part-III political science student of Patna Women’s College, said: “I was shocked a month back when a cop made a vulgar gesture at me outside my hostel in Nageshwar Colony. I was returning from tuition classes hardly a few metres from my hostel when a police officer, along with some havildars, came close to me and made a kissing sound. At first, I ignored them. But then, the officer kept doing the same. I was alone and I did not want to take any risk and rushed inside my hostel. Eve-teasing is common outside all girls’ hostels.”
Girls in the state capital are subjected to wolf whistles, vulgar comments such as “Hi, sexy”, “Chalna ha kya” and “Jitne bhi tu karle sitam” on a daily basis. Men brush by their shoulders or waists or attempt to grope them.
On the notoriety of Station Road, Prerna, 21, another boarder of the same hostel, said: “I have been teased at the Station Road auto stand on several occasions. I can bet not a single girl can say that she has not experienced the same there. My friends have shared their experiences with me. I cannot utter the vulgar comments that are made at us.”
“Every day, whenever we leave house for school or tuition, we have to hear filthy and obscene comments,” said Khushboo (17), a Class X student and a resident of Patliputra Colony.
Sharing her traumatic experiences of travelling by autos, Ghughru Mishra, 22, said: “Auto rides give eve-teasers, mostly between 45 and 55 years of age, an easy chance of touching a girl seated beside them. On one occasion, I was standing at the Boring Road roundabout with my brother when an elderly man seated in an auto winked at me. I told my brother about it but he did not believe me. There should be some stringent laws to deal with eve-teasers.”
Police, however, said measures to crack down on such incidents is their priority.
A police officer, preferring anonymity, said: “Eve-teasing or molestation can happen anywhere and at any time. Policemen concentrate on each and every area of the capital, not only vulnerable areas like shopping malls, bus and auto stands and coaching centres. Police are deployed at places like the Maurya Lok Complex and Patna Market all the time. It will be wrong to say that there are no policemen at Maurya Lok or other busy areas. We are focusing on rash bikers, as they mostly tease girls and snatch chains. From time to time, we run campaigns in which women constables in plain clothes identify troublemongers in crowded areas so that they can be arrested immediately.”
Gufrana, 22, a postgraduate student and a boarder at Mother Teresa Minority Girls’ Hostel of Patna University, said: “Jahan ladko ka group ho, wahan hum jana avoid karte hain, koi zaroori kaam hi kyun na ho (We avoid going to places where boys hang out in groups even if we have urgent work).”