India’s startup capital has been declared unsafe for women, a tag it can’t possibly be proud of. Statistics look bad. VS Ugrappa, who heads the expert committee on preventing sexual violence against women and children in Karnataka has slammed the Bengaluru Urban Administration with results of a survey that show the city’s safety records are terrible. “Bengaluru figures at the bottom of the list on Protection of Women Rights and even had zeroed it position when it comes to awarding compensation to victims of abuse.”
“Bengaluru accounts for the highest number of dowry death cases and is witnessing an increasing number of rapes, and instances of sexual abuse against women. In fact, more than 50 dowry deaths are reported from the districts every year, and yet no one is convicted. Even the POCSO act has not been implemented properly across Bengaluru. Only in three per cent of the cases have miscreants been convicted and in the rest, the culprits have been acquitted.”
We at SheThePeople spoke to women from different walks of lives to understand what worries them about their favourite city.
Read: Four out of five Indian women in cities have faced Public harassment: Survey
PR Professional Bhaswati Deb arrived in the city in 2014 from Chennai, but today is worried about her own security. “The city was secure before, which made me come down to Bangalore for work. But recent issues like poor security worry me. I personally try and be as safe as possible especially on days I work late,” says the 25 year old. She insists the onus of sorting out security concerns lies with the government.
Ramya Gowda, a 35-year-old working mother sighs, hoping the city would go back to getting its buzz back, with security and safety as part of the package. Like many, she admits it has so much going for it from the great weather all year round and the entrepreneurial energy. “The city has given us a lot. Women are given rights and freedom in the city but now are bound to follow some ground rules,” she rues. In the last 10 years a total of 516 girls below the age of 18 have gone missing and 247 women above the age of 18 have gone missing. The police are absolutely clueless about the numbers and after-affects. “Yes, the stats are scary. I now try shopping all the groceries and vegetables for my home before 7pm.”
Not everyone is willing to make adjustments if things go from bad to worse. 25-year-old media professional Anjana R is in dilemma about her staying put in the city. “Women feel powerless and frightened while walking on streets at night. The increasing crime rate had led to girls becoming extra cautious. The reporting of cases nearly everyday has put question mark on my long terms plans. This is something that wouldn’t have normally bothered me a year ago.”
Ugrappa’s report says Bengaluru Urban police failed to ensure even minimum security for women and prevent crimes against women. The city figures at the bottom of the list on Protection of Women Rights and when it comes to awarding compensation to victims of abuse, its record is poor.
“The condition of women in Bangalore is worse now and which by the way no women must ignore. Government is giving us false hope and now it’s evident,” says an upset Shikha Bhatnagar who has lived in the city since childhood.
Bangalore city has for long been the city of the hard worker. Women have celebrated its freedom and pushed for its progressive ecosystem. The city has 6,594 industries employing about 7.30 lakh women. Of this 2.40 lakh women are employed in the garments industry alone. The latest stats are bound to raise concerns.
At a time when the buzz around startups in Bangalore is probably at its summit, these statistics come as a rude shock, not only for its residents but also for work visitors and tourists.
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Feature Image Credit: www.oneindia.com