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Down a scary road

I started my training in the paediatrics department in Maulana Azad Medical College a few months back. My duty hours vary largely — sometimes it can be from afternoon to midnight and sometimes from morning to evening. During the night shifts, my work gets over at around 1 am or so. At that time, coming back from the hospital to the PG where I stay — which is about 20 minutes’ walk — seems scary!

The first reason behind this is that the streets are not at all well lit. There are few street lights, and that too quite dim. Thus, even though the distance may not be much, it does not feel safe. In the evening also, when it gets a little dark, I have seen men passing remarks and ogling. What scares me most are the stories that I keep hearing from my colleagues — about the rampant molestations near the area in Khooni Darwaza. They say that many medical students have faced harassment while returning alone after dark. Then the 2002 case — where a girl was gangraped in the same spot and then found dead — still haunts many of us.

Nevertheless, I wanted to find a safe way and thus  rented a car just to come back at night from the hospital. My job is important for me and I am sacrificing a lot for it. Especially because I am a mother of a two-year-old, and I have to leave him with my parents every day before coming to work.

At night, my parents worry till I get back to the PG safely. So, they are constantly on the phone with me while I drive back.

Once in a while, when I see a group of men pass by in bikes — speeding and hooting (they seem drunk), I feel scared. Had there been proper lights and policemen in these streets, we would not have felt so unsafe.

Geetika Singh is a trainee doctor at Maulana Azad Medical College

— As told to Shruti Das

‘To whom do I complain?’

Many a times, while coming back from my institute I dine at the Maulana College canteen because it is affordable and the food is healthy. One day while coming back from the place, a man — who was visibly drunk — started following me from the canteen.

At first I did not pay much attention. I thought I will just clear my bills and leave the place. But then I saw him following me outside the main building as well.  His pace increased and in no time it matched up with mine. I was trying not to show that I am scared, and thus kept my pace normal. He came up to me and started asking: ‘Madam, where is Turkman Gate?

His words were not clear, and the smell of alcohol could be strongly felt. I did not answer; because that would then start a conversation which I thought could blow things out of proportions.

But to my shock, he had the audacity to keep pestering me. He even said, ‘Hello, I am asking you!’ I kept walking and when he asked for the third time, I firmly said that I don’t know and literally started running. Once I came near the entrance gates of my PG, I turned to look back and saw him standing at a distance. But when he noticed that I was entering a ‘secured building’, he turned back and left.

After this incident, I was immensely scared to go back to the canteen. There is no one to whom I can complain about it. I don’t know who could provide a solution to my problem. There should be proper street lights in this area, and also CCTV cameras for the safety of women. Moreover, if necessary, they could keep one or two police stands near the street. Otherwise, these harassments will go on undeterred.

Mahitha is a student.

— As told to Shruti Das

‘I was touched inappropriately’

I was once returning from my college — Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital — at around 9 pm. Like any other day, I was walking towards the Delhi Gate metro station. That day, for reasons unknown, the street lights were not working.

When I was walking, a middle-aged man — who was coming from the opposite direction — fell on the ground or acted as if he was falling. Then he smiled at me, and got up all by himself. And long before I could even realise what he was up to, he groped me. Then, as if nothing had happened, he walked away.

It took me a while to realise I had been molested. But he was long gone by the time I did. Moreover, there was no one there to whom I could have complained. It was so dark that I could not even see his face.

— As told to Shruti Das