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Posted at: Jan 11, 2017, 12:42 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2017, 12:44 AM (IST)

On the guard

The Bengaluru molestation incident is a blot on the security structure for women. Although girls from Tricity feel relatively safer, there is need to be vigilant at all times

Jasmine Singh

The Bengaluru molestation incident a few days ago has raised the question of women safety once again; a question that has been burning for a while now, the embers of which are fanned each time it is rubbed against a woman’s sanctity.

On the other hand, taking the issue into their own hands, keeping safety in mind, the Central Industrial Security Force has permitted women to carry small knives while they are travelling in buses. This action, needless to say, is a comment on women’s security itself, which is why we move around in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali and Zirakpur to quiz girls riding on two–wheelers, behind the wheels, hiring an auto-rickshaw to home, work; girls waiting for the local buses and ask how safe they feel in Tricity.

Reality check

According to a report, one-third of women in Chandigarh drive to work - the highest among all cities in India. Is this an indicator of anything? Charu Dhir, who works with an NGO - Sunehra Aaj - and is also preparing for the Civil Services exam, studies at the Panjab University library till late night and then drives back to her home in Sector-44 by car, has never felt unsafe. “I don’t carry a pepper spray but I have a swiss knife in my car, which my younger brother has kept for me. The only time I feel scared and not unsafe is when I hear about the incidents of crime against women. In fact, I thank my parents that they stay in a Chandigarh, a city that is far safer than many other places,” she says. Charu feels safe in the city but this does not mean the girls have tossed caution to the sky. Many girls from the Tricity believe that being safe is a personal task as well.

Be careful

Echo three young girls, Manpreet Sekhon, Divya Sharma and Harnoor Brar, all students of Punjabi. “We try not to take an unfamiliar route if we are commuting late at night. We inform our male friends and brothers beforehand.”

While women feel the city is relatively safer, numbers tell a different story. Data of 10 months in 2016 shows that five rapes and eight molestation cases are reported every month in the city. Even though most cases are from satellite areas like Mauli Jagraon and Dadu Majra, a case of an auto-driver molesting an Egyptian girl near Elante Mall fairly recently puts women security in the dock. “Girls who are new to the city are more at risk,” says Stuti Sharma, an engineering student from Sector-33.

Chandigarh is a safe city, but still one needs to be careful.

Maniya, student, PU

Some roads near PGI are not safe. Sometimes, we are stalked and have to face lewd comments in the evening. Otherwise, Chandigarh city is safe and secure. 

Riya, pursuing MBA from PU

I work in Chandigarh and reach here each day on a two-wheeler. Chandigarh is quite safe, except around New Year time and other festivals. 

Jayati Grover, works in Sec-8 

Most of the calls on the PCR are attended by women.

We have a women desk at every thana.

At odd hours, we also provide PCR help to a woman if she is in need.  

Roshan Lal, Sp communications,Chandigarh

(Inputs by Dolly Chopra)

jasmine@tribunemail.com

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