Is ‘safe Pune’ tag a myth for women?

Thursday, 26 July 2012 - 1:25pm IST Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2012 - 1:26pm IST | Agency: DNA
The growing number of working women in the city indicates that men no longer are the only bread-winners in families. However, crimes against women have gone up, especially working women, who feel vulnerable while travelling late in the night.

The growing number of working women in the city indicates that men no longer are the only  bread-winners in families. However, crimes against women have gone up, especially working women, who feel vulnerable while travelling late in the night. Also chain-snatching incidents have earned the city a bad name. Is the police force doing enough to protect the fairer sex? Speak Up finds out

A decade ago, it was safe to go out at night
I grew up in Pune and as far as security of women in the city is concerned, it is very safe compared to other cities in India. The only concern is the increase in theft and break-ins; therefore it has become unsafe for women to stay home alone, especially in the night.

If you have your own car or two-wheeler then travelling around the city is not a problem for women. Walking on the road in few areas in the city or using public transport has become a little uncomfortable for women. We have to be cautious and alert all the time.

A decade ago, it was safe for women to venture out even after 9 pm. Now I feel a little bit uneasy going out alone. Incidents of chain-snatching in the city have dramatically gone up, wherein women have got injured while trying to resist being robbed. Even general crimes against women have increased but despite all this, the city is still fairly safer for women.
Sonali Jadhav, College Principal

80% of sexual assaults take place in homes

Compared to other cities especially Delhi, Pune is a much safer place for women. In a city like Delhi, women cannot even imagine venturing out alone after dark, which is not the case in Pune. In fact, many woman over here are coming forward to file police complaints of atrocities against them. Patriarchal violence against women has also taken different forms. The increase in registered cases of crimes against women is no indicator of the fact that the city is unsafe.

Also, there is a general belief that public places belong to men. For example, if a girl is molested in a public place, ten more girls will be stopped from going over there. However, nobody will raise a voice to punish the guilty and take steps to provide safety for women. The grim truth is that 80% of sexual assaults against women take place inside houses. As long as there is poverty and unemployment, the crime rate is bound to go up.

There is no need to press the panic button. So many single girls come to study and work in Pune. They prefer to stay here because they find the city safe.
Manisha Gupte, founder, Mahila Sarvangeen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM)

A lot needs to be done for women’s safety
After travelling extensively across India, I find Pune to be one of the safest cities for women. It’s been over a year since I started staying in Pune. I travel by public transportation as I don’t have my own vehicle.

Amazingly, I have never come across any eve-teasing or lewd remarks from strangers. I feel quite confident and safe while travelling in the night in autorickshaws from home to Koregaon Park or railway station or the airport.

I have lived in Delhi for major part of my life where travelling by public transport was a frustrating experience as everyday I had to face eve teasers, embarrassing remarks and staring eyes.
In India, a lot more needs to be done to ensure 100 % safety of women in all the cities including Pune. There are still many places like BMCC Road and spots around posh colonies which aren’t properly lit during the night. This could encourage cases of abuse on the streets of Pune.
Kritika Mattoo, Manager-Programs, CYDA

Number of cops to tackle crime is less
The culture of Pune is changing very fast as the city’s population is increasing rapidly. People from various parts of country are coming to the city to work. Though the city has grown leaps and bounds, the police force has not increased proportionately. Ten years ago, I would say the city was safe but now I cannot make the same claim especially for working girls and more so for those who work at odd hours. No girl can dare go out alone late in the night in the city. It is always advisable to go out in groups. The administration and the police must provide safety to women.

The crime rate in our country is rising but still Pune is much safer. Especially as the volume of working girls is increasing, some of whom end up working in night shifts, cities have to be made safer and secured for women. The number of police cases filed is just the tip of the iceberg, many crimes go unregistered.
Shubha Shamim, State Secretary, Working Women Co-ordination Committee

It is safe to walk or travel by bus
Previously, I would commute by public transport to college, but now I have my own two-wheeler. I never found the city unsafe while walking on the roads or travelling by bus.

My deadline to return home is 8 pm. I have never stepped out on my own late in the night as my parents don’t give me the permission to do so. I have never had any bad experience. As chain-snatching cases have increased in the city recently, I have stopped wearing any gold chain or rings. I am born and brought up in Pune. The city is as safe for girls as it was before.
Sayali Katkar, student


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