In yet another brutal incident of violence against women in Delhi, a girl was stabbed to death by a stalker in broad daylight in the national capital. The AAP government cried foul over the previous government’s failure to curtail crimes against women. The party made outlandish promises during their election campaign in 2015, but has till now failed to deliver on almost all counts to ensure women’s safety. The government has maintained that as Delhi Police remain in Centre’s control, they can’t improve the law and order situation in the capital. However, the party had promised several changes to improve women’s safety that had nothing to do with the Delhi Police. Implementation of those promises don’t need institutional reforms, it needs a will… will which has not been shown by this government.
The incident on Tuesday saw a 21-year-old woman, Karuna, being killed by her neighbour Surender Singh who stabbed her nearly 30 times. The woman succumbed to injuries as bystanders did nothing to help. The incident was caught on a CCTV camera and the footage quickly went viral. The turn of events also indicate a lapse in policing. However, preventive steps were promised by the Delhi government and the absence of these changes gives a feeling that there is a ‘freedom to commit crimes’ in the city.
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During their 2015 Delhi Assembly election campaign, AAP released a packed manifesto with grand designs. Arvind Kejriwal and company shouted promises that were hard to digest and seemed unfeasible at times. Nevertheless, the people clung on to the hope and are still waiting to see those promises see the light of the day.
Kejriwal himself promised that if his party comes to power, they will install 10-15 lakh CCTV cameras in Delhi to ensure women’s safety. Safe to say, the capital hasn’t even installed 15,000 CCTV cameras till date. People were impressed with promises that the government will install CCTVs in public places and in every DTC bus, but that has not been realised even on a minute scale. Marshals stationed in DTC buses do not have even a baton or pepper spray to deal with a violent situation.
The government also promised to set up a Mahila Suraksha Dal. This force was supposed to be made up of 10,000 Home Guards. Needless to say, this suraksha dal is also nowhere to be seen. The last mile connectivity promised to the public can be seen, but there doesn’t seem to have been a government plan at work here. The number of autorickshaws have gone up by removing limits, but the lack of sensitisation of drivers is again an issue affecting women passengers on a day-to-day basis.
Kejriwal repeatedly promised more working women’s hostels in Delhi. However, there has been no progress on this so far and any woman who moves into Delhi has to face the trouble of finding safe accommodation without having to go through the inevitable harassment. Homeless shelters too are overflowing as there have been no new ones in past year. Fast track courts for women has been long forgotten by the government and all that remains is an ongoing tussle for administrative control between the Delhi government and the LG.
It is a fact that in the absence of authority over the Delhi Police, the Delhi government can’t do policing, but it has a responsibility which can be fulfilled in its current capacity. That responsibility is essentially creating an a safe environment for women. It also has a responsibility of assuring constant vigil over offenders and predators by creating a surveillance infrastructure, even if it isn’t as grand as promised. Further, washing its hands off responsibilities is not an option for this government or any other. Women’s safety is a serious issue and something that has been used as a poll plank by every party. However, if the current government reaped benefits of these unrealised and forgotten promises, it is
Further, washing hands of responsibilities is not an option for this government or any other. Women’s safety is a serious issue and something that has been used as a poll plank by every party. However, if the current government reaped benefits of these unrealised and forgotten promises, it is time it remembers this fact and makes things happen. It owes that to the people it claims to serve.