The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medico rape blot on capital

New Delhi, Nov. 19: The rape of a Maulana Azad Medical College student last Friday has again raised the question whether women are safe in the national capital.

Students of the college as well as residents of the capital have been shaken by the crime. The shockwaves reached Parliament where women MPs yesterday drew the attention of the House to the growing spiral of rapes in Delhi.

The failure of police to make a breakthrough has deepened the sense of insecurity. The police have so far only identified one of the three accused of raping the fourth year MBBS student in daylight.

The girl was forcibly taken to Khooni Darwaza, a monument on the busy Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, and raped.

“I’m scared whenever I leave home to go to college,” said Swati Pradhan, a second year student of Delhi University. “Going by what happened to the Maulana Azad student on a busy road, it can really happen to any of us any day,” Swati said.

Her classmate Pragati Mehra said: “Last week, three youths tried to run their hands on my waist while I was on a bus. But I could not do anything knowing well that even if I shouted, the passengers would not have helped me.”

The North Campus of Delhi University was in the grip of a rape-scare a couple of months ago. Following this, Delhi police had launched an anti-eve teasing drive and tried to arrest those found prowling in the area.

Expressing shock over the rape of the student, Delhi police joint commissioner (crime) U.S. Katna said there is a need to look into why rapes keep recurring in the capital.

“Cases like rape are crimes of opportunity as men with perverse behaviour basically look for a time to strike,” Katna said. It has to be combated by the police as well as the public. While the police can play the role of deterrent by reducing these opportunities, the masses also cannot turn a blind eye, he said.

It is a broader issue than a mere law and order situation, said another senior police officer. “As far as my understanding of these sort of crimes is concerned, rape is essentially a socio-cultural problem.” Society needs to be educated and made aware that women should be treated with equality and respect, he added.

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