New Delhi: A 20-year-old woman shot dead in broad daylight and passers-by walk on. Are Delhiites insensitive towards increasing violence, especially against women? While most people agree, many say it is the fear of getting entangled in legal hassles that prevents them from getting involved.
Durgesh Nandini, depot manager at the Shadipur bus depot, told reporters: "Though it cannot be denied that people are indifferent in the capital, the real reason behind this is the legal hassles that follow after someone comes forward to cooperate with the police."
Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta had said Tuesday that in Delhi people do not react when they see crime being committed against women, unlike in cities like Kolkata.
"In cities like Kolkata, people react very strongly when they see crime against women. Here there is no such reaction. We are very passive. Why do people not react when they see harassment of women? The incidents will come down if people react strongly against them," Gupta had said.
He was reacting after a 20-year-old college student, Radhika Tanwar, was shot dead in broad daylight in south Delhi, posing once again a serious question on safety of women in the city. Most people passing by refused to help the wounded girl.
Avinash Mishra, a Delhi University student who participated in a protest rally against the murder of Radhika, said: "I don`t agree with the police commissioner`s statement. No city is free from crime. However, we have to fight against such cases."
Prahlad Bairwa, a professor of political science at Motilal Nehru College, said: "In smaller cities there is a strong feeling of brotherhood among the people and they try to solve their issues on their own. However, people tend to avoid whenever an interaction with the police is involved."
Many people, however, agreed with the commissioner.
"I agree with what the commissioner has to say. A couple of weeks back I was in the metro and two men were trying to grope me. When initial rebukes did not work, I turned and slapped them - and expected some support from the people around, but shockingly there was none," said Sarita Sharma, a student.
"No one, not even the women, batted an eyelid making me feel like an abnormal person. With such reactions, how can you expect the goons to get discouraged?" she added.
Agreed Shalini Dey. "It`s sad but true. And it`s a lot to do with the mindset of the people and the upbringing of boys in families in north India. When you see your mother and sister being treated with dignity in your family, your learn to respect other women."
Raghu Sharma, a professional told reporters: "It`s not that crime doesn`t happen elsewhere. But from what I hear from my sister and girl friend, they feel more safe in cities like Bangalore or Mumbai because they can expect some reaction from the public if something untoward happens, unlike here. While the police definitely needs to be more vigilant, it`s time we the people become more aware and responsible too."