Date: 02 January
GUWAHATI, Jan 1 – Some individuals as well as organsations have demanded a slew of measures for the safety of women in Assam, with a common demand being the need for public transport dedicated exclusively to women commuters.
Days after the bestial attack on a young woman in New Delhi that shamed a nation, women and girl children even aboard Guwahati city buses admit of feeling unsafe from some male passengers.
Those who spoke to this reporter spoke of being touched or groped on public transport, a form of harassment that is reprehensible.
Asmeen (name changed) in her thirties, who is mother of a young child, related an incident in which she was groped inside a bus she had boarded from her office to her residence. “It is humiliating to say the least,” she said.
She and many others believe that the time has come to introduce ‘women only’ buses andtrekkers in the city, at a time when more women are commuting to work and returning home atnight. Such buses plying under proper monitoring from the authorities will make women and girl children have some sense of security.
Anurita Pathak Hazarika, of the NGO North East Network (NEN), while supporting such a move, also raised the issue of streetlights being absent in many parts of the city. “The situation requires immediate intervention from the authorities,” she said, and added that lack of illumination gives criminal elements the perfect cover to commit crimes against women.
Adequate lighting in bus stops is another issue that has not been addressed so far by the civic authorities. Moreover, she called for phone help lines which can respond to women in distress round the clock.
The need for better policing has also been underlined by many women’s organisations in the last few years. Some women’s groups have said that there should be more frequent police patrolling in areas close to colleges and ladies hostels to act as a deterrent to eve teasers. The ‘response time’ taken by police to rush to a particular crime should also come down according to women’s rights activists.