Following a brutal attack on a young journalist inside a DDA park in Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, serious concerns have been raised by residents about the poor lighting and absence of police and security guards in several MCD and DDA parks in Delhi’s residential colonies.
The Sunday Guardian visited several such parks here to assess the situation on the ground. This correspondent visited three parks located among several apartments in Dwarka’s Sector 4, 5 and 6 in the evening, and found that all the parks lacked proper lighting. There were no private security guards around any of the parks, nor could one find the presence of any police.
Residents of these areas have raised questions about their security as they say that these parks start becoming a den for anti-social elements after sundown.
Payel Singh, a resident of Dwarka Sector 4, said, “The parks here are unusable after sundown. They start becoming hubs for people who come here to take drugs and drink openly after sundown. Women like us, who come here for evening walk, have to return before it gets dark.”
Another resident of the neighbourhood said, “The situation is bad because there is little lighting in these parks, and anti-social elements carry on all kinds of prohibited and nefarious activities. There are no security guards to keep a check on the entry of such elements into the parks. Not only women but even men do not feel safe as we keep hearing some or the other incident occurring in such parks.”
The situation is no better even in South Delhi. Residents near a park in Satya Niketan opposite the Venkateswara college, complained about the lack of security in the park which becomes a den for drug addicts after sundown.
Residents of the locality, which is mostly inhabited by students from across the country owing to its proximity to Delhi University’s South Campus, complained about the lack of police patrolling and checks on drug addicts who throng the park, making it unsafe for use.
A young third-year student and resident of Satya Niketan said, “This is the only park that we have in our vicinity, but sadly for girls like us, it is very unsafe to come here both during the day as well as in the evening. You can see men openly smoking weed and hashish here, irrespective of the time of the day. We have also complained to the police several times, but to no avail.”
She further added that the lack of police patrolling and absence of guards in the park adds to the woes of people who just want to cross through the park. “You would hardly see any girl coming to this park because this is not a safe park. The walkway path in the park is dimly lit and many places do not even have light, nor are there any CCTV cameras. We don’t want to be molested.”
People say the same things about Rock Garden, the biggest park in West Delhi’s heavily populated residential colony of Patel Nagar. Spread over acres of land, it is one of the favourite parks among residents owing to its natural beauty. However, as night approaches, the park is inhabited by drug addicts and anti-social elements, making it unsafe for the residents.
Indu Sinha, a regular visitor to the park, said, “This is a very big park located among a thickly forested area, and with little lighting which is mostly on the outer pathway. It is very unsafe to venture into the park when it is dark. Recently, there was news about a man who was stabbed inside this park and we keep hearing such incidents. Incidents about robbery and snatching are also common here.”