| A girl during a candlelight march at Dighalipukhuri to pay tribute to the Delhi gang rape-victim. Picture by UB Photos |
Jan. 2: The Assam state commission for women has suggested that private companies in the city provide cab facilities for women employees working after 8pm.
This suggestion has been made keeping in mind the rising rate of crime against women and to ensure that a repeat of the Delhi rape does not take place. The city had its share of shame last year when a woman was molested by a group of men on GS Road late in the evening. The incident had proved beyond doubt the lack of security for women on the streets.
However, after the incident, Assam police had formed all women police patrolling squads under four police divisions to guard major roads at night to prevent a repeat of the GS Road incident and to respond to the call for help of any woman in distress.
“Deliberations are on to find ways in which Guwahati can be made safe for women. We were thinking along the lines of private companies providing cabs for their female employees. In several private offices, the employees have to work till late in the evening. Many times they have to wait at the bus stand for several minutes before they get a bus. Travelling alone makes them vulnerable to attacks. But if they are provided cabs, their safety will not be compromised and they can reach home on time. However, we have not decided on our next step yet,” said Meera Borooah, chairman of the Assam state commission for women.
In winter, the frequency of buses reduces after 8.30pm on certain routes, because of which people have to wait for quite a while. In case the bus is unavailable, the only option is to board an auto.
Moreover, the police are sometimes reluctant to register FIRs in cases relating to crimes against women. This discourages a victim from lodging a complaint.
“We have come across a few victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults, who complain that the police do not take their grievances seriously and hesitate to file FIRs against the guilty. This discourages them and the guilty manages to go free. In such cases, we advise them to meet higher police officials and seek legal help. Having more women police personnel in the force will definitely help as they will be able to deal with such sensitive cases in a better way,” said Borooah.
“But there have also been cases where women have falsely accused their spouses and in-laws of demanding dowry and assaulting them. When this happens, innocent people may be penalised. Hence, it is essential for the law enforcement agencies to hear the case on both sides so that the law is not misused,” said Borooah.