DU Chaupal: Delhi Women Sick of All Govts’ Lip Service to Safety
Cameraperson: Shiv Kumar
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
It has been nearly seven years since the horrific Nirbhaya gangrape brought a brutal spotlight the issue of women’s safety in India, especially in the national capital of Delhi.
As the union territory is all set to vote on 12 May in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, The Quint’s chaupal reaches Delhi University to find out if women’s safety is an election issue.
Is the University a Safer Space Than Delhi City?
Not for students studying in co-education campuses, says Somaya Gupta, who is pursuing Law in the university. While there is a perception that the university is a safer space, “the nature is extremely different,” she argues.
For students like Vitti, who go to all-girls college, the university is actually a safe space, the way the rest of the city should be.
“I am from an all-girls college. The fact that my experience is different from hers, being in a co-ed college environment, says a lot. For me, college is actually a safe space. It is actually everything she was talking about. But in Delhi, her co-ed atmosphere is the actual, real reflection of what Delhi is.”Vitti, Student
How Would Students Rate AAP Govt?
The women students asserted that while there was a lot of chatter around the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) working for women’s safety, they felt the party has “made no difference.”
Women also said that lack of female representation was another important reason for the government’s dismal performance when it came to women’s safety.
‘Why Is It Our Responsibility to Defend Ourselves?’
Students echoed each other’s views, questioning the government's implication – with Delhi Police’s ‘self-defence’ classes for women – that the burden of safety should fall on women themselves.
When asked if they used the ‘Himmat’ mobile application, launched by the Delhi Police and reintroduced several times since 2015, students said they have a problem with the app – starting with its name.
“The Himmat app, which is again a government initiative, why is the name of the app ‘Himmat’? Like the whole terminology goes to show that ‘I am a woman but more than that, my struggle is important’. ‘The more I have struggled, the more of a woman I am and the more respect I deserve’ – which I think is really messed up.”Vitti, Student
What About Parties’ Promises Ahead of Polls?
Dismissing the manifestos of the parties as an eyewash, students called for the government to start talking about changing people’s mindsets instead of making the same promises again and again.