Women’s safety while traveling in DTC buses is a huge concern in the capital city of Delhi. Increasing cases of harassment and molestation reported by women traveling in buses have aggravated the issue to a disturbing level. This has led the Delhi government to conduct a study to understand women’s safety in public buses to bring better solutions for crimes against women.

Such repeated instances of molestation in buses also led the Delhi Commission for Women to take suo moto cognizance of the matter. DCW Chief Swati Malliwal sent a notice to the transport department and Delhi Police. It also questioned the authorities on the absence of marshals when such incidents took place.

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Some such incidents that happened very recently include a 19-year-old Delhi University student jumping off the bus in September 2018 because she was molested on the same route she took every day for seven times in a row, her sister revealed in a Twitter post after the incident. In January, a male passenger molested a woman co-passenger in Laxmi Nagar area. When she raised her voice, the fellow passengers came to her rescue and reported the man to police.

Delhi government has collaborated with a think tank, Delhi and Development Commission to conduct the study and prepare a plan to ensure a better travel experience for women traveling by DTC buses. “In collaboration with experts from diverse fields, the task force will come up with innovative ideas to address issues concerning women safety and suggest ways to enhance their safety,” a government official said, TOI reported.

“The measures we adopt will work as a deterrent to misbehaviour in buses and change the perception of safety while instilling confidence in women commuters,”

“The measures we adopt will work as a deterrent to misbehaviour in buses and change the perception of safety while instilling confidence in women commuters,” the official added.

The study will focus on the existing behaviour, training and effectiveness of the marshals as well as the bus drivers and conductors. The transport department claims to provide behavioural training programs to bus drivers and conductor in addition to driving refresher workshop.

Due to the upcoming Delhi assembly elections, the Delhi government has prioritised this study and initiative as it involves a large number of people living in the city. There are close to 30 lakh people who use Delhi transport buses on an everyday basis. Around 50 buses operate during night hours and 3000 or so marshals handle these buses general during late hours. The marshals are personnel from Civil Defence Volunteers and Home Guard, all trained to prevent crime against women in buses.

Picture credit: The Indian Express

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