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Complaint by women on bicycle harassed in 'elite' Delhi area: Six days, abusers untraced

Counterview Desk

A women's delegation met the DCP Dwarka, Delhi, on October 22 Santosh Kumar Meena Meena, telling him how in a relatively well-to-do area sexual harassment of women has become a common, even as handing over a memorandum which mentions recent instances of the “unacceptable” incidents.
The signatories to the memorandum – Madhavi Kane , Ritu Khulbe , Seema Joshi, Shameera Ashroff, Shirin Talwar, Neelam Talwar, Sukhmani Malik and Shabnam Hashmi – wonder why after two complaints early morning, the offender roamed freely on the same road and not caught. “It’s been six days, the abuser has not been traced”, they say, adding, “This is not an isolated incident and the police already had earlier complaints with same details lodged by other girls.”

Text:

We, the undersigned, want to bring to your notice about an absolutely unacceptable incident that took place on October 17, 2020 on the street next to Dusshera Ground of Sector 11 before the DDA sports complex, Sector-11, Dwarka between 8.40- 9.00 am and request your urgent action on this.
A young girl, Shirin Talwar, on a bicycle was harassed by a man in a car (with the back glass broken and no number plate) openly asking for sexual favour and hurling filthiest comments at her (he had unzipped his pants and was masturbating and following the girl).
At a point he asked the girl for the directions to Sector-14, Dwarka and used that pretext to further harass her by saying nasty things with sexual overtones. Shirin asked him to go with an idea to be able to note the car number to complain but the man continued harassing her.
Realising the man was not going away, she cycled fast to get to a place with at least some people around and reached the back gate of DDA Sports Complex, Sector-11 when she shouted for help. Some people started coming to help her and the man in the car sped away before anyone could gather their bearings to follow him. And it was at this moment Shirin saw that the car had no number plate.
Completely shaken, she went home (one of the persons who had gathered around as she shouted for help escorted her home nearby) she called 1091 to complain thinking that the range of CCTV in the area would help in tracing the abuser. She started getting calls from police stations from Dwarka Sector 1 and 9.
Finally, Dwarka Sector 9 police station called and was told that they could not trace the man or the vehicle without a number and that the man must have gone and fixed the broken glass in the meantime.
All this happened in broad day light and this is not a stray incident for the reasons below.
Shirin posted about her experience on Instagram on October 18 and she got messages from two other girls who had gone through the same incident with the same man and same car in the month of January.
On October 19, Shirin met the traffic police officials posted at the cross section of Sector 6 and 10 red light. They mentioned that similar incidents had happened three days back in the same area and the victim had the video recorded which was circulated in police officials’ Whatsapp group. 
On October 21, she went to Dwarka sector 9 police station. While the woman official was checking the register of her pre-registered telephonic complaint, she was shown two FIRs being lodged with similar complaints by two other girls that had occurred before hers.
Lovleen Kochar, who was harassed same morning between 6.45-7.00am lodged the complaint with the police there and then, and yet the man reappeared 8.30am to harass Shirin and Lovleen who was on the road for two hours, saw the car passing by at 8.45am and saw him again at 1.30pm same day.
Shirin Talwar's post on Instagram: Screenshot
We fail to understand that even after two complaints early morning, how come the offender roamed freely on the same road and not caught? It’s been six days, the abuser has not been traced and as mentioned above, this is not an isolated incident and the police already had earlier complaints with same details lodged by other girls.  
It is appalling to see the confidence in men to be violating women’s dignity and rights despite so much of focus the CCTV surveillance
There are innumerable complaints heard from women commuters who travel by metro. Poorly lit roads, vacant plots, lack of police patrolling, unsafe public transport add to the feeling of insecurity and embolden the miscreants to sexually assault girls and women.
The safety and security of particularly girls and women in Dwarka are becoming a serious threat with steps taken by the police and administration to curb the incidences of sexual harassment and violence having no effect so far.
It is appalling to see the confidence in men to be violating women’s dignity and rights with CCTV surveillance. We are deeply concerned with the broken law and order situation in Dwarka and worry for the safety and security of fellow citizens especially the girls, women and vulnerable communities in Dwarka unless strict measures are taken by the police and administration.
We demand and recommend following:
  1. Time bound action on the complaint submitted by Shirin Talwar, Lovleen Kochar and other complainants.
  2. Despite all the barricades and right under nose of traffic personnel, car without a number plate has been roaming for months altogether in the streets of Dwarka, We demand an enquiry to be conducted and action taken against the traffic personnel for dereliction of their duty. 
  3. Despite so much of focus and investment on the CCTV infrastructure, every time there is an incident, the attitude of the police is extremely callous. We demand a regular audit of all the CCTV cameras, and accountability to ensure the systems are operational and of good quality. 
  4. We demand patrolling around the incident prone areas to be intensified, top police officers of the area should be directed to conduct surprise checks regularly during day and night. 
  5. Mobile police vans with helpline numbers prominently displayed on them should be stationed at locations sensitive to road crimes.
  6. The transport department and the law enforcement department must work in close coordination to ensure that all doubtful license holders are apprehended in time bound manner. 
  7. All streets and corners of Dwarka should be adequately lit. No road, street or locality should be dark, street lights must be installed and it should be ensured that these are working. 
  8. Women have equal rights on the public spaces, and it is the duty of law enforcement agencies to ensure they feel safe. The department should come up with focused action plan to ensure that public spaces belong to all, and should be safe and accessible to all. 
  9. To improve law and order at the local levels we demand thana/district level or similarly structured sub-committee to be re-constituted, The committee should have representatives from SDM, ACP, elected representatives, area RWAs, educational institutions, women’s organizations, and representatives of students and workers. 
  10. Enhancing accountability and transparency will improve police legitimacy and increase public confidence. We demand that along with the Crime Statistics released by the police department, quarterly statistics on the case updates, like conviction statistics to be released by the department on regular basis.

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