As reports poured in about anti-Romeo squads hitting the streets of Uttar Pradesh to check eve-teasing to ensure safety of college-going girls, many girls, housewives and mothers in Okhla started asking: When will anti-Romeo squads hit the streets of Okhla?
Though there is no specific data available in the locality on women security, many women strongly feel that ruffians can be easily spotted in corners and outside schools something not so prevalent in the locality a few years ago when women used to feel safe and there is a need for anti-Romeo squads hitting the streets of Okhla.
“Okhla is a safe area for women as crime against them is low. But what is disturbing that a few youths are spoiling that safe environment. It is common to see youths in group standing on streets and staring at girls, women and even passing remarks. Though markets, malls, schools, colleges and coaching centres are the worst place, even streets are not safe. Effort should be made to nip such things in the bud,” said stay-at-home mother Nighat Ara.
Many women concur with Ara, saying that the situation is getting from bad to worse day by day.
“Religious organisations and Imams should come forward to address the menace. It is becoming common to see boys standing in the corner of a street and passing remarks and giving lewd stare. A few months ago a coaching institute opened in my area in Jamia Nagar. Since then we have seen increase in number of boys loitering around the coaching institute. They stand in between the street in groups and strangely nobody is telling them to stop them,” said Rozy Rakib, another resident.
A Jamia Nagar resident Arshad Ali Khan wrote in an email to OT.COM: “The whole area is becoming a nightmare. I just want to add that even school going girls are teased near Ashoka Park and by default all the guys are from Zakir Nagar. They are always on their bikes and are recognisable.
“Once it was perceived that this area would be safe for women because of the Islamic values we are taught. But it seems off late the whole idea is lost. Even parents have failed to control their sons mostly in their teens or early twenties riding bikes with three and four persons at neck-breaking speed, honking to the highest pitch in the narrow lanes. It is high time the elders of the locality come up as a group and form formidable check points in the whole area to assist the administration to keep these goons at bay.”
Another resident Kausar Raza wrote: “I have lived in this area since 2004 and seen great change in the locality. Now the situation is turning from bad to worst. Even school and college girls have to face hard times on Okhla-Batla House Street.
Women unsafe in Okhla revealed white paper released in 2015. According to the study, 17 rape cases have been recorded in Jamia Nagar with five murder, gangrape nil, robbery 15, theft 469, assault to outrage modesty 21 and sexual harassment 5. Whole Okhla registered 23 rape cases and 441 theft cases.
It revealed that Jamia Nagar registered record maximum cases of rape in Muslim-dominated localities of Delhi, as per data analysed by a foundation carrying study mapping the crime scene in Delhi from January to December 2014.
A girl had shared her ordeal with OT.COM requesting anonymity. “I would like to report a few examples of my own… a few days back I was walking near Tikona Park and there were three boys hardly aged 12 on bikes all together, they passed by me and shouted “C…”
“There are always boys on bikes who would see you coming from the opposite direction and direct the bike towards you in speed and then turn to the side at last moment, to scare the hell out of you and get a reaction, going out and not having a man or a boy sing while they stare at you is impossible,” she wrote.
Another resident lamented that how in Shaheen Bagh youths are found hanging around when the school closes aiming to torment schoolgirls.
OT VIEW: Okhla continues to be peaceful place and safe for women with a few aberrations. There are a few black sheep giving bad name to the locality. The menace should be nipped in the bud with elderly, religious groups, NGOs and authorities working together creating awareness on the issue