The number of rapes has doubled and cases of eve-teasing have tripled in Ahmedabad city during the last one year. However, working women find the city “safer” compared to the other metropolitan cities in the country.
According to the figures sourced from Ahmedabad Police Commissioner’s Office, Rider Branch, rapes have doubled and eve-teasing has tripled since 2012.
“The crime rates have increased. 163 eve-teasing cases, 103 rape cases and 7 physical harassment cases have been registered as of October 31 this year. Last year, 67 eve-teasing cases and 52 rape cases were registered till October 31,” said Pruthvi Bhatt, founder of city-based NGO, Lok Rakshak Seva Samiti, which works closely with Ahmedabad police.
National Crime Records Bureau also reveals that the incidences of crimes against women during 2012 in Gujarat were 8,679 out of which 473 were rape cases. Similarly in Ahmedabad, out of 1,705 incidences, 63 were rape cases.
Despite the shocking figures, women give a thumbs up to Ahmedabad’s “safe city” tag. “My office timings are from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm. Even though, I get late, I have never faced any problem. I always travel by my two-wheeler no matter how far the place is. Of course one takes measures like I don’t get out of the house after 10.30-11 pm. Even if I do, I am with my family or friend,” says 24-year-old textile designer Abha Deshpande.
Gemma Martinez (26) hails from Barcelona in Spain and has travelled extensively in India. “I have visited Goa, Kodaikanal, Mumbai, Delhi and some parts of Kerela. You get groped or touched in Delhi. I have been in Ahmedabad for the last one year, but that hasn’t happened to me even once. I feel safer here as compared to other cities,” Martinez says, who runs her own cafe in the city.
Twenty-seven-year-old copy editor Rutu Paniker regularly travels by GSRTC bus from Gandhinagar to Ahmedabad for work. “Once, while waiting alone at Ashram bus stop at 10.30 pm, I encountered seven men on bikes within half-an-hour asking me for a lift. One of them asked me ‘Hey Prachi, remember we met at Paldi bus stop’. I immediately called up people from office who came and stood with me till I got into the bus. In another instance, a man in the bus tried to fondle me, but I moved to another seat,” she says. Despite the harrowing experiences, Paniker feels secure here.
Sales manager Ruchika Goyal (21) believes that being subjected to inappropriate remarks and gestures have made her stronger. “I have been staying here without my family for the last 5 years. I work late. Of course, there were instances when my friend and I were walking towards our house and a guy came and groped my friend. But if you compare Ahmedabad with other cities, it is definitely safe. I don’t feel scared while driving on the streets even at 1 or 2 am,” said the Satellite resident.
City-based management and communications expert, Ekta Punjabi (25), feels that people should open their minds regarding women working late nights. “This will make women more confident and outgoing and their outcome at work will be much better. Parents’ support is also necessary,” she said.
Published by The Indian Express, Ahmedabad (Late edition) on December 28.