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Making Gurgaon a Safer Place for Women

Jan 9, 2013. Residents, RWAs, citizen forums, and NGOs came together at a workshop at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon to understand what fresh initiatives need to be to improve safety of women in the city. Dr. Kiran Bedi, noted social activist and reformer was the chief guest and the keynote speaker at the workshop.

The recent unfortunate development of a gang rape and death of an innocent Delhi girl has put the spotlight once again on our law enforcement agencies, authorities and administrative machinery. Are the authorities including Police/Traffic Police really geared up? Do we have enough women cops and NGOs in Gurgaon? What can ordinary residents do to make a difference? These are some of the questions that the gathering attempted to find answers to. Gurgaon urgently needs to take concrete steps to beef up the security and safety of its women. With rapid surge in population including migrant population, thousands of women travelling in and out of Gurgaon daily for work and the widening socioeconomic divide, Gurgaon too like any other city is quite prone and vulnerable to crimes against women.

Dr. Bedi advocated creation of Citizen Police Control Room for parallel policing by involving the RWAs, senior citizens, women, schools and colleges and corporates. She also talked about involving private security guards in policing and re-starting the Civil Defence movement though NSS and NCC cadets. She talked about crime prevention of collaborative action comprising 6Ps – people, police, prosecution, politicians, press and prisons. Gurgaon citizens should get together to conduct social audits of functioning of police stations. By doing so, each constable will be answerable and accountable to the citizens” she said. She encouraged that citizens should hold monthly meetings with police to bring up issues.

Dr. Dilpreet Brar, Regional Director, Fortis Memorial Research Institute said on the occasion, “Women should empower themselves with self-defense mechanisms so that they can safeguard themselves. There is an urgent need for formulation of a crime prevention plan on the lines advised by Dr. Kiran Bedi.

Shubhra Puri, business journalist and Founder of Gurgaon First said, Law enforcing agencies such as the Police and Traffic Police need to tighten their belts. They have to also make an attitudinal change and develop a deep sense of responsibility and respect for their public service jobs. Laws need to be more stringent and clear and the judiciary processes need to be fast-tracked. Support groups, like NGOs can make sure that such crimes are reported and the culprits caught. But perhaps most importantly, we also need to address the core issue of deteriorating social and moral values of a fast-paced, fast-changing society and the widening socio-economic divide. Value-based education at the school and family level are therefore equally important.

Dr Kalpana Viswanath, Senior Advisor, of NGO Jagori said that cities have to be designed better to reduce growing incidences of crime. “Markets and Parks need to be designed well. Pedestrian subways are not safe unless they are well lit and have shops.

Besides, we need to have a reliable public transport system to ensure that our streets are not lonely.” she said. The workshop was organized by Gurgaon First, an initiative for positive change in Gurgaon and hosted by Fortis Memorial Health Institute, Gurgaon.