City Nightmare – "Girls are coming, let's tease them"

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Who's that girl?

Private horror zones in India’s rape capital.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

In the first week of 2009, a 24-year-old MBA student was allegedly gangraped by a group of boys near Great India Place mall in Noida, a Delhi suburb. No wonder Delhi is nicknamed ‘India’s Rape Capital’.

In 2008, the Delhi city recorded 524 incidents of rape. In contrast, the numbers of cases in the three other metros in 2008 were: Chennai — 46, Kolkata — 44and Mumbai — 174. Delhi is perhaps the unsafest Indian for women. The Delhi Walla talked to a few women about which place in this metropolis makes them feel really insecure.

That road in Vasant Kunj
Tania Sachdev, chess Grandmaster, lives in Hauz Khas

I’ve never felt comfortable driving through this road in Vasant Kunj, which goes through a jungle-like area. Walking in Old Delhi, too, keeps me on high alert. However, it’s Noida that seems to be the NCR’s rape zone. It’s a sad thing to say, but Delhi men are disgusting. In my own city, I have to maintain a certain ‘dress code’, not because my parents have a problem, but to keep lechers at bay.

Outside my home
Amanpreet Wahi, model, lives near Rajouri Garden

The most dangerous thing for a girl to do in Delhi is to walk down the road. Mobikewallas, cyclewallas or any wallas will try to come close and touch you. Even walking just outside the home isn’t safe. Every time I go to the gurudwara across the road, I make sure to bring my maid along.

Driving is not much safer, and I never drive alone. It’s especially risky for my profession – on an evening when I’ve done a show and have the make-up still on, people could get wrong ideas.

My life before the modelling days, too, was not very different. I studied in Jesus & Mary College, in Chanakyapuri, the most secure district in the city. But even that wouldn’t stop men of my father’s age gathering outside the gate and making obscene signs at us. It’s jungle raj in Delhi. They are like, “Ladkiya aa rahi hai, let’s tease them.”

I was pinched at Ghaffar Market
Prashansa, Class IX student, lives in Karol Bagh

I went to Ghaffar Market around a year ago with my aunt and was badly pinched by a man. He ran off before I could do anything. I did not tell anybody but I was frightened. Dar gayi thi. However, I’m more confident now and if I go to Ghaffar Market again and somebody tries pinching me, I won’t leave him alive. I’m also sacred of the area outside Gangaram hospital. After dark, if you walk there alone, men would roll down their car windows and ask you to come inside.

It’s CP
Shigufta Parekh, cultural adviser, lives in Hauz Khas

There are places in Connaught Place that get very dodgy at night, especially the radial roads that connects the inner circle to the outer. All sorts of people come and start talking nonsense if you walk alone there. I also get jittery when I’m crossing the lonely road between Vasant Kunj and JNU in an auto. Pitch dark. No light. Anything could happen.