A year ago, a 23-year-old paramedic student and her male friend went to watch a movie at a South Delhi mall. As they were in a hurry to return home, the duo took an auto-rickshaw that dropped them at a bus shelter in Munirka. It was around 9-30 p.m., quite dark for a winter night.
After waiting for sometime when they could not get anything, they boarded a private chartered bus that promised to take them to their destination. And what happened after that is known to the world.
The bus sped from Munirka to Mahipalpur and then back to Munirka while the duo was assaulted until they were finally dumped under the Mahipalpur flyover. The criminals also attempted to run the bus over them. There were no barricades or policemen to stop the criminals that night. They raped the girl, brutally assaulted her and her male friend.
A year after the incident, The Hindu team took the same route to find out if anything had changed on the ground since the incident, which had sparked off protests for weeks and forced legislators to revisit laws on crimes against women.
On reaching the Munirka bus shelter late at night, The Hindu team found that the stretch was well-lit and two constables were deployed. Not many women were standing in wait for a bus at the stop. However, a few of them whom we managed to find, told us that they do not feel safe travelling this late at night and it is just because they do not have any other option that they have to board a bus.
Tanvi, a 22-year-old girl, who was at the bus-stop along with a male friend said: “I do not feel safe travelling this late in the night even if I am travelling with a male friend. You see what happened to the gang-rape victim girl, she was also with a male friend but she was assaulted. I can see policemen here but that does not give me a sense of security. Our security is in our own hand, so it is better to avoid travelling late night if possible.”
Other people who stood at the bus shelter nodded in agreement and said it is still unsafe for girls to travel late at night. “A PCR van is always stationed here and chartered buses do not pass from this stretch anymore. This is the extent to which things have changed here,” said Sanjay, a regular commuter from the Munirka bus shelter.
Moving ahead along the stretch towards Mahipalpur on the night of December 13, we found that there weren’t many policemen and no PCR van was in sight. The Mahipalpur flyover where the girl and her friend were dumped remained dark and desolated. Despite the presence of a number of hotels in the area, the area under the flyover is scary and dark as it was a year back.