There are as many as 118 spots across Haryana vulnerable to “eve-teasing”, the police have found after surveys in each of the state’s 22 districts. The Haryana police now plan to deploy women decoys at these spots to nab “eve-teasers”, a senior police official said. Across districts, railway stations, bus stops, outside schools, colleges have shown up in the survey as the most vulnerable places for sexual harassment of women.
The details of the survey, accessed by The Indian Express, shows that Ambala district has 11 vulnerable spots, the highest among all districts. These include MM University Mulana, Polytechnic Chowk in sector 9 market, Kalpana Chawla Government Polytechnic For Women, bus stands at Ambala Cantt and Maheshnagar and the railway station. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s constituency of Karnal has six spots, including a college situated in front of Municipal Corporation, bus stand, market of sector 6 and KVA DAV College For Women, Railway Road.
Vulenrable spots in Millennium City Gurgaon include the MG Rroad metro station, Sahara Mall, MG road, bus stand and Government College for Girls in Sector 9. Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) headquarters O P Singh said they would not just deploy women decoys in plain clothes at these spots but also put up warning signs that the police were watching the area. “These hotspots will be the focus areas of the police. We will also ask the schools and colleges to put up CCTV cameras,” he said.
Women police across the state are already going to various schools and colleges teaching girls to speak up or shout publicly whenever they face a man stalking or molesting them. Inspector Manjit, who is heading the Panchkula women police station, said, “We have been visiting girls in their classrooms in schools and colleges. We tell them whenever a man stalks you, just shout once so that people around you get to know.”
Haryana’s Director General of Police B S Sandhu told The Indian Express, “Dealing the crime against women cases is our top priority. And I feel that taking out a candle light march against the police or protesting when a case takes place will not solve the problem at the root. People need to sit together and chalk out solutions which help in changing the outlook of the society. When I see rape cases, it shows that for these people even hanging is no deterrent.”
Women leaders and activists, however, said the police should focus more on men than on women. “Instead of women, they should counsel men, who should be informed about the consequences of their actions. The police have to ensure a safe atmosphere for women. Today, women have to think twice before stepping out,”said Geeta Bhukkal, MLA from Jhajjar constituency.
Kiran Chaudhary, MLA and leader of the Congress Legislature Party, said the slogan of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao was hollow. “I would just say they are high on decibel and low on content. Women want to see the change on the ground. These numbers are not of any use until we make the surroundings safe for women.”
However, Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain said the entire exercise was to make women aware and change the mindset of people. “ Policemen can’t be deployed at every pole. The entire exercise is to change the mindset and outlook of people towards a girl,” she said. Shakuntla Jakhar, president of Haryana unit of the All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), said it was time schools and colleges too played their role in preventing sexual violence against women.
In an online survey conducted by the Haryana Police recently, 64 per cent of the 28,539 people who responded said “eve-teasing” took place when they commuted to and from school, college and work. About 34 per cent of the respondents said the police could stop “eve-teasing” more effectively by deploying women cops in plainclothes while 26 per cent said that uniformed police patrolling would also help.
To a question on how “eve teasers” below 20 years of age should be dealt with, 33 per cent of the respondents believed they should be scolded publicly while 18 per cent want them to be beaten up and 12 per cent said they should be put behind the bars right away.