More women in uniform should move in public, suggests Delhi L-G Baijal’s Panel

Taking note of the growing instances of violence and crime against women in Delhi, a panel led by L-G Anil Baijal has identified several measures — such as more visibility of women in uniform among the public — to put a check on the menace. The recent molestation of a second year Ambedkar University student at the Delhi Metro, is a chilling reminder of how increasingly unsafe the city has become for women. Trying to find a solution, Lt Governor Anil Baijal has set up a panel chaired by Special Commissioner Delhi Police, Sanjay Beniwal. The panel also has IBHAS Director Nimesh Desai, professors Krishna Menon and Pamela Singla, Women Safety Expert Kalpana Vishwanath, psychologist Monica Kumar and Additional Secretary (Home) O P Mishra.

The report has identified reasons behind crime against women and charted out preventive measures that must be executed to make Delhi a safe place for women.Calling for a holistic approach for women’s safety, Beniwal said, “Women’s safety is not only about the law and order problem alone. It is a mixture of cultural, social, infrastructural and psychological factors that play a complex and important role.”

Citing the Women’s Safety Report, he added that there is a need to increase the presence of women in uniform in public spaces since it automatically enhances the safety aspect. When one sees a woman in uniform, moving in public spaces, it increases the community’s safety factor. The experts further believe that other factors are also equally responsible towards making the capital a safer place for women.

Beniwal said, “Women travel differently. They do not just go to office and come back home, drop children to school and travel back home. They go to various places where they don’t have the last mile connectivity. The infrastructure needs to be such that she can have that necessary connectivity. There will be a role for the PWD, Transport, Revenue, and other departments.” Among other suggestions for women’s safety, the report also talks about abolishing the all-boys’ schools and coming up with more co-education schools.

“It’s important for boys and girls to interact with each other. The gender stereotypes should be done away with. It’s possible to do that in co-ed schools,” said Pamela Singla, Professor Social Work department, University of Delhi. Singla is also part of the panel constituted for the women’s safety report. The report emphasizes on having a campus safety team, which would comprise of teachers, students, teaching and non-teaching staff. The team can hold gender sensitization sessions in various departments and also interact with students to know if there are cases of harassment, which the students won’t otherwise come forward with. The report also suggests a regular campus safety audit.