January 26, 2014
Night Watch Protest Against Gang-Rape of Danish Woman

THE brutality and brazenness of the recent gang rape of Danish woman near New Delhi Railway Station has shocked everyone in the capital. In the light of growing incidents of sexual assault at public places and increasing feeling of insecurity amongst women, All India Democratic Women’s Association, Jana Natya Manch, Democratic Youth Federation of India, Students’ Federation of India, Jansanskriti, Democratic Teachers’ Federation, Centre of Indian Trade Unions together held a night watch protest at the site of rape incident on January 17. The gathering was held to assess and highlight the absence of security measures at even central public places like Connaught Place, New Delhi Railway Station and Pahar Ganj, which are frequently visited by women at all hours. All organisations expressed anger and outrage at the complete absence of security measures around the railway station. The participants who walked from the entry point of Service Entry Road towards the New Delhi Railway Station noted that there were hardly any security measures in place. The street lights around the station were very dim. There were no police check posts near the area where the constant noise of trains make it impossible for any call for help to be heard. The protestors also observed that there were no proper sign boards indicating the way to the railway station or Pahar Ganj, which is a prominent area for tourist guest houses and lodges. A detailed letter of observations and demands would be formulated by the organisations and submitted with the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at the earliest. The evening saw a mix of songs, performances, slogans and speeches. Jagmati Sangwan, general secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said it was clear from the way things were that none of the recommendations of the Verma Committee Report were taken seriously and implemented. “This case only reflects that the security systems inside the capital city have completely failed its women, who are not even safe at public places,” said Sangwan. AIDWA Delhi state secretary Sehba Farooqui expressed deep shock at the fact that the Danish woman’s assault went on for hours at such a prominent public place without any check. She stressed on the need to take immediate measures to check such incidents. Students’ Federation of India (SFI) CEC member Sunand Singh said, “This incident is the latest in the series of crimes of violence against women in the city, the government needs to take some concrete steps instead of making hollow promises”. Rajeev Kunwar from Democratic Teachers’ Federation (DTF) expressed concern at the growing insecurity of women in the capital city. He stressed on the need to provide proper security measures for girl students in and around universities and colleges, as well as other prominent places. Srinivasan from Jansanskriti mentioned that even after the public outrage over December 16 gang rape, these incidents only prove that the laws are still not being properly implemented. Puran Chand, secretary, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) said it was unfortunate that these incidents are growing unabated and they reflect on the will , that is missing, of the political and administrative sections to provide violence free lives to women. Anurag Sexena from CITU also expressed deep anguish at the complete absence of security measures at public places like even the railway stations which women have to frequently visit. The gathering culminated near the railway station as the organisers decided to carry on with such initiatives to take a stock of security arrangements across the city.