Haryana may be the state with the worst sex ratio in the country as per official statistics, but it is safe for women, according to police and the state BJP general secretary. However, the Congress does not agree with that view.
“Haryana isn’t as bad as it is portrayed by the media. The state has its own social issues to handle, but the condition of women isn’t so pathetic,” said Dharma Yadav, ACP Sadar, Gurgaon and the Nodal Officer for crime against women and children, Haryana Police Force.
Yadav, referring to the recent kidnapping of a student who was rescued by the police within seven hours, said: “The event was in no way acceptable, but she was rescued and is safe now. But the incident does not reflect the overall condition of women in the state.”
“There is another angle that is often overlooked. In the last few years, if Haryana has emerged as a state with a high number of cases of harassment of women, it is because now women are reporting such cases in large numbers. Earlier, they weren’t empowered enough to come out and talk about what was happening with them,” said Yadav.
“The administration has worked hard in the last few years to act according to the needs of the public. Not only are women in Haryana better informed, the police force, too, has been sensitised on how to handle such delicate issues,” she said, adding that the crime rate against women in the state went down in 2015 compared to the past few years.
Speaking about the Gurgaon kidnapping incident, Anil Yadav, general secretary, state BJP, said, “What happened is definitely regrettable. But the girl was rescued in record time. I think the police must be applauded for their efforts irrespective of what the story remains behind the kidnapping.”
About the overall safety standards in Gurgaon, Anil Yadav added, “You can’t really expect zero crime rate in a city. Anti-social elements will always be there. What we can do is try to put in place better reinforcements and I can assure you that the BJP is working on that. It’s not only for Gurgaon, but for the whole state.”
On the other hand, Tarun Bhandari, treasurer, state Congress, criticised the government and said, “They have no control over the administration. This is an immature government. They don’t know how to run a state and their promises will soon begin to sound hollow.”
About the Gurgaon kidnapping, he said, “How was a student kidnapped from right outside her educational institute? Shouldn’t parents in the city feel safe when they send their young daughters to acquire education? Such incidents shouldn’t take place at all.”
Vinod Chawla, principal secretary, Railway Board, and a resident of Sector 12 Gurgaon, said, “I have a young daughter who is an engineer and sometimes it gets as late as 8:30-9pm for her to return home. I am not at peace unless she returns home safe. I am sure it is the same way for other parents too. Gurgaon isn’t so bad when it comes to safety, but I can’t send my young daughter out at night.”
“Gurgaon has become a commercial hub. There are many young boys and girls staying in PGs. A kidnapping incident always makes everyone feel unsafe,” Chawla said.