“Presently, everybody [in Delhi] is unsafe. I am DCW chief, I have travelled during days and nights – I have travelled in buses, in the metro, I myself feel unsafe,” Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal said while discussing the state of women’s security in the capital. Maliwal, who was observing a “satyagraha” for the past seven days, had been visiting public spaces to understand the status of the safety of women in Delhi. The action was triggered by several rape cases reported in Delhi in the past 10 days. “I was working 24 X 7 since the day the seven-year-old girl was raped,” said Maliwal.
On Tuesday, probably in a unique turn of events, DCW chief Maliwal staged a dharna outside Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence. She was later detained by Delhi Police. Maliwal claims that while Singh has been assuring her of better policing for women’s safety, nothing concrete has changed in Delhi in the last two years. The brutal rape of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl on November 13 “devastated” Maliwal and hence she decided to stage a dharna. According to her, all that she wants is to “move the system”.
“Nobody goes to visit these victims. Their eyes are asking questions,” a visibly upset Maliwal told Newslaundry. If the system doesn’t respond on time the “next time when a minor girl is raped, the blood will be on our hands, on all of us,” said DCW chief.
She shared how during the satyagraha, when the DCW team was visiting different parts of Delhi, a DCW member was molested. “While we were walking in Kashmere Gate bus adda, one of the girls [member] felt that someone tried to touch her. By the time we realised, that man had disappeared. So that happened with the DCW team in Kashmere Gate.”
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2015 says 2,199 rape cases were registered in Delhi, the sixth highest in the country. Delhi Police data shows that 1,816 rape cases have already been reported until October 31 this year.
Maliwal said the situation has worsened over the years due to the dismal conviction rate. Referring to Delhi Police data, she said between 2012 and 2014, “31,436 crimes against women were reported, of which less (than) 150 were convicted…Jab saza hi nahi hogi to dar kis baat ka hoga (When there is no conviction, how will the rapists be afraid?)”
Listen to Maliwal on why she decided to become “an activist” DCW chief, her dig at both the Central and state governments for their failure to make the city safe for women and her response to the alleged recruitment scam. Here’s the video: