Even as the Millennium City of Gurugram dazzles with high-class discotheques and pubs on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon (MG) road, the 1.5 km stretch between IFFCO Chowk and the MG Road Metro station turns a “few shades darker” at night. Despite the police’s presence and their regular crackdown on anti-social elements, the stretch continues to be a hub of unlawful activities where eve-teasing and flesh trade thrive.
Earlier this month, The Sunday Guardian spotted a gang of unruly boys hurling abuses and passing lewd comments at a young girl late at night near the Sahara Mall on MG Road. The next night, this newspaper spotted a few inebriated guys chasing a group of women on the same stretch. The police staff patrolling the road as well as the security guards and auto drivers said that it is a daily business for young guys aged between 18 and 28 to get drunk inside pubs at the Sahara Mall and create a ruckus on the roads by passing lewd comments and making obscene gestures.
“This stretch is infamous for flesh trade. No ‘decent’ girl loiters on this stretch this late at night. We patrol this area every night from 10pm to 1am and even turn in these rowdy elements. It’s a daily business for them, and no matter how many times we try to turn them in by beating them up or even puncturing their vehicle’s tyres, they still come back here,” sub-inspector of Gurugram police Rohtash told The Sunday Guardian, adding that sometimes, the failure to draw successful “negotiations” between the pick-up girls and drunken boys often leads to a “tussle” between the two parties in which the girl is harassed or molested. A resident of DLF phase 2, who requested anonymity, said that any girl who is unaware of the area’s notoriety and is found on the road late is also likely to be thought of as a pick-up girl and is chased by men.
Ashok Kumar, Station House Officer of Sector 29, said that earlier the police would crack down on all suspecting people who indulged in drinking, eve teasing, and prostitution. But later, when the girls started to “double back” and accuse the police of mistreatment, they limited themselves to just making sure that no girl is picked up forcibly.
There is only one woman constable on duty throughout the day and night. Women PCRs, according to locals, frequent the stretch only twice or thrice a week. “We can’t always drive the girls and cars away for they claim it their right to stand anywhere they want. They simply run to a different spot when they see us coming. Also, we know that the ‘other, normal’ girls are often mistreated, but we can’t take any action unless they file a case, which happens rarely,” the reader to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gurugram, said.
A few auto drivers and residents revealed that it is usually the auto drivers who, after striking a deal, haul the sex workers from one place to another to avoid public gaze and police. On the growing incidents of eve teasing, Mamta Kharab, ACP, Gurugram, said that the police hardly receive one or two cases every day, despite hearing of numerous such incidents on a daily basis.