Women Seek Dialogue: Kejriwal Yet to Deliver on Women’s Safety 

The special Delhi Assembly session on women’s safety will now reconvene on August 3

2 min read
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: Reuters)

Name and Shame

The murder of a 19-year-old girl in central Delhi gave Arvind Kejriwal yet another chance to demand control of Delhi Police from the Centre. In fact, in a special Delhi Assembly session, which was scheduled to be held today, the AAP government planned to lay bare Delhi Police’s ‘record of chronic inaction’. Following Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s death, the special session will now reconvene on August 3rd. Kejriwal intends setting up an inquiry commission to probe all cases of sexual harassment that have been languishing, despite repeated complaints to the Delhi Police.

But has the Aam Aadmi Party forgotten about its own ambitious Women Dialogue programme?

Feeble ‘Dialogue’

A couple of months before it rose to power, AAP’s 70-point action programme had a subset — Women Dialogue.

A charter that listed everything that was required for a woman to feel somewhat safe in a city that was the “Crime Capital of India.”

What we have missed is seeing some action on the ground.

  • Part of the ambitious Women Dialogue plan was to set up 1.5 lakh CCTV cameras across the city, in DTC buses and bus shelters. But this is still to see the light of day. In the recently concluded Open Cabinet, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia stated that the government was “in talks” with companies to work out the modalities of the CCTV network. However, nobody knows how long its implementation will take.
  • Delhi has nearly 255 dark spots, which have been identified as extremely unsafe for women. While the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Delhi Police have discussed the matter repeatedly, there hadn’t been any resolution. Though AAP had promised a city free of dark spots, some of the city’s prime areas — Chanakyapuri, Dhaula Kuan and Tolstoy Marg — have yet to see light, quite literally.
  • Another ambitious infrastructure plan — the construction of two lakh toilets for women in the city — is also likely to take time. Safe sanitation remains elusive for Delhi’s slums and JJ colony clusters.
  • The one promise on which AAP has delivered is the ‘Suraksha’ app on mobile phones and the 1091 helpline number.

Essentially, Kejriwal would do well to take stock of his own promises, before dissing the security apparatus in the city. He is likely to keep locking horns with the Delhi Police, but one feels he should reserve the same enthusiasm for his Women Dialogue programme as well.

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