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8-14 August 2014

Vol. 3 No. 51  Pages 24  ` 10

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

There are beasts out there! Asha PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he two recent incidents of brutality against young girls (one a 2-year -old!) in Gurgaon have not only shocked the residents but also raised serious concerns about the safety of any girl or woman here. Just a few weeks ago an elderly woman had been raped and murdered in her house. The girls in this instant were raped and dumped, and the elder one was even murdered. In a city where thousands of women work in corporate offices, IT companies and call centres 24x7, these gruesome incidents send stark and chilling reminders that, ‘outside’ of the homes and offices (hopefully), not much is right in the Millennium City. We should not be fooled by the fact that the victims were ‘not one of us’. While the Gurgaon Police has constituted a Special Investigative Team, and even announced a major reward for information on the criminals, that is little solace for the survivors. If we do not want to see more and worse crime against women and children, we first need to accept that these two incidents are no longer aberrations. Of course women daily face many problems, and often have to face these silently. They often feel a sense of déjà vu any time something ‘exceptional’ is picked up by the media. However, these 2 incidents, which were also violent, seem to point to a heightened degeneration of society. In this migrants infested city, the psyche of some residents is fast changing. They have too soon seen it all, think they know it all, and then believe that they can do it all! In Gurgaon, the feeling of unease in public spaces, including parks, always seems just surface deep.

How long will we remain cocooned, in the mistaken belief that we live protected lives – while the pack of wolves moves closer to our doors?

Veena Gupta, an activist, says that the primary problem is the lack of awareness and education among the people – they are hesitant to approach the police and do not know how the system functions. “There are many poor children and women who get harassed on the roads, during work and in their homes, but they are too scared to call the police. Even affluent and well-to-do people prefer to keep silent on these issues,” she adds. Many teenagers, even from educated and affluent families, do not report these incidents because they fear that their ‘freedom’ would be curtailed. This needs to change. Most of the villains can, and should, be identified early. Prevention is a far more potent weapon than cure. Further, an inherent ‘acceptance’ that harassment, eveteasing and molestation is a ‘given’ if a woman goes out of home to work, needs to be completely rejected – by the accused camps and, more importantly, by society. Deeptilal Patra, who works in the Communications industry and traverses both Delhi and Gurgaon, says that it easier to travel in Delhi in the evenings, and to negotiate with the auto drivers, but in Gurgaon she finds it difficult to move around after 8pm. “Handling the auto drivers in Gurgaon, who often are half drivers and half miscreants, is itself a challenge – apart from trying to manage the maze that is Gurgaon,” she says. She adds while problems exist in both the cities, Gurgaon is worse because of the lack of adequate infrastructure, and a large floating population - with countless, nameless faces who seem to vanish as easily as they surface. And then return later to this wine, women and song El Dorado, especially on weekends, with friends. An interesting point made by Veena Gupta is that the safety also depends on the ‘built environment’, Contd on p 7 

Juveniles Riding the Roads { Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

O

ver a year ago an under-teenybopper from Peramangalam in Kerala, driving a Ferrari, literally created news not only in India but also around the globe, since a video footage of this risky feat was uploaded on the Internet. When confronted by the law, the affluent father of this nine-year old kid, instead of repenting for his folly, bragged that the little fellow had been driving since the age of 5! Indeed, such a scenario still prevails in several parts of India - and Gurgaon is clearly no exception. Be it a two-wheeler or a car, a common sight happens to be youngsters in their mid-teens zooming along the roads as if they are on a racing track - in the process risking their own lives as well as those of others on the road. While earlier it was the ‘rich brats’ who were the culprits, this disease seems to have struck even the middle class families, as evident from the scores of youngsters riding twowheelers into and from schools. As per the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act, a person driving any vehicle is expected to possess a valid driving license. This is issued by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA), the agency that en-

Asha PANDEY

forces the MV Act. However, a juvenile in the age group of 16 to 18 years may drive a two-wheeler with an engine power not exceeding 100 cc - and in Gurgaon this provisional licence for these youngsters is issued by the Sub Divisional Magistrate. But this privilege, extended to the enthusiastic juveniles to drive a two-wheeler of only a specific capacity, is being (allowed to be) grossly misused. Apart from driving a two-wheeler sans the mandatory safety helmet and flouting basic traffic regulations, the ‘modern’ kids also try their hands at the steering wheels of cars - large swanky ones too. On this scenario, Om Prakash, Licensing Officer at the SDM office, says, “We only issue licences as per the Act, in the presence of the riders’ parents or guardians and after a proper basic test.” Worried over the gross misuse of licences, the Deputy Mayor of Gurgaon, Parmindar Kataria, says it is high time this is stopped, since these youngsters are the future of the nation. He says, “Nowadays everybody being tech-savvy, it is time for us to create mass awareness by relying on social network to usher a sense of road safety.” Driving a scooty and even a mobike to the school Contd on p 6 

Friday gurgaon 8 14 august, 2014  

be the change you want to see

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