They are on their own in Aman Vihar. Not enough policemen, a population density far higher than the capital’s average and little money to take matters into their own hands. Two fathers in Aman Vihar, just 2 km from each other, have had to spend their meagre savings for better home security. One is afraid a stalker, arrested for allegedly raping his daughter-in-law, will return, while another, who has two daughters, has been on the edge since two neighbours allegedly gangraped and murdered an NGO executive a few metres from his house.
The former has invested in iron grills for windows, while the latter has installed a CCTV system. It’s not much, but it’s all they can afford. And it’s much more than most houses in Aman Vihar, which in 2016 recorded the most rapes (60) in Delhi. In 2012, when the gangrape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on board a bus in south Delhi rocked the nation, Aman Vihar had recorded eight cases of sexual assault.
2 families, 1 fear
In the intervening night of April 27-28, a stalker in his late 20s slipped into the house, which now has iron grills, through a window. Armed with a knife, he dragged a 32-year-old woman from the bed, where she was sleeping with her two infants, took her to another room and allegedly raped her.
The woman’s mother-in-law said, “Before this, he had entered through the same window and stolen a photo frame of my daughter-in-law. He was arrested but later released on bail. He came back and did this.”
The victim said, “He got my mobile number and sent lewd messages. He is in jail now, but I’m still very afraid.” DCP (outer) M N Tiwari said, “In Aman Vihar, we need a combined effort to filter out cases where women have been harassed. Many do not come forward due to social restrictions.”
On August 20 last year, a 23-year-old NGO executive from West Bengal was gangraped and murdered in the area. The next day, two youngsters led protests. The same duo were eventually arrested for the rape-murder. One is in Tihar, while the other, a juvenile, is out on bail.
A few meters from where the body was found, a family has installed CCTVs. “Young men get drunk and loiter around,” said a woman, who has two daughters. “A CCTV won’t protect us, but someone might get caught.”
Across Aman Vihar, the fear is constant. A 25-year-old teacher who lives there said, “I have to come home before the sun sets. I ask myself sometimes, do I really live in the capital?”