Is Ahmedabad Safe For its Women ?


With recent cases of mass molestation in Bengaluru on NYE, we find out
Do you feel safe when returning home after a late-night party? Do you fear being eve teased as you travel from home to office every day? Do you feel uncomfortable sporting a pair of shorts and crop top in a cinema hall or a restaurant only because you may get unwanted stares or comments?
The safety standard of any city can be judged by the safety of its women. While Gujarat appears in the list of top five safest states in India we speak to our women to find out if they feel guarded when venturing out alone or at an odd time.


IS A DRY STATE SAFER FOR WOMEN?
While a lot of Amdavadis may crib about the fact that Gujarat is a dry state, it also has its own advantages.“Ahmedabad is relatively safer because of the traditional culture that it still holds. There are no wild parties that happen at large scale in other cities. It is usu ally the small friends and family gatherings that people engage in,“ says academician Indira Hirway . Yes, we miss out on all the fun that comes along with enjoying nightlife with friends, club hopping and having a gala time, but this also means there is overall peace in the state. “Being a dry state, we don't have pubs and discs. Surat, Vadodara and Ahmedabad have a night life which is free from liquor, and is lived out mostly on the streets. The absence of drunkards in public places contributes to women's safety in a big way ,“ says lawyer Avani Mehta who frequently travels at odd hours for work.Whether it's Manek Chowk and Law Garden in Ahmedabad, Ghod Dod Road and Dumas in Surat or Fatehgunj, Ratri Bazaar, Alkapuri in Baroda, there are youngsters on their two wheelers, hanging out in these streets long past midnight, sharing a cup of tea or coffee while chit-chatting with friends. “Gujarat surely has its share of fun and freedom, but minus the feeling of being unsafe. After all, nigh life with loved ones must be about merriment, memorable conversations and good behaviour; not driven by alcohol,“ says social activist Leena Sanghvi.


SAFETY FIRST
While Gujarat has a good number of college-going girls and working women, there are rare instances where they have faced harassment or been physically abused in public spots. “It is because of the law abiding and co-operative nature of our citizens that Gujarat is safe for women. We have various departments of police on patrol that keep a tab on drunk driving. For women, we have various cells for emergency that are active round the clock. We also take help of the officials from Suraksha Samiti who keep their eyes and ears open all the time,“ says Deepan Bhadran, DCP (crime), Ahmedabad. A state can't turn into a safe place overnight. It is the little precautions and safety measures taken by people and government that lead to building of a safe place.
“Most universities and colleges have a sexual harassment cell where the victim can open up with conformity to anonymity . While low key harassment cases keep happening every day at places like riverfront and Lal Darwaza, there are no major molestation cases like the ones in bigger metro cities. Also, the city planners need to plan the city in a way where there are no empty streets at any point of time. There must be patrolling 247. There is also a need to plan more number of public transport for late night to assure the safety of women during night time,“ says Darshini Mahadevia, professor, CEPT. To sum it up, safety of women in the society at large isn't just about having laws and guidelines, but also about every individual's mental framework and the values they are brought up with. “It's high time we get rid of the tendency of suppressing women and nurturing boys. A change in our thoughts and behavior is the only way to help build a safe, healthy society,“ says Hirway .



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