The brutal murder of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found between sector 13 and 14 Metro stations in Dwarka has once again brought to light the lack of safety in crime-infested Dwarka in southwest Delhi.
With massive development and several villages like Bindapur and Palam nearby, incidents of petty and street crime are regularly reported in the area. The local police had started an integrated police patrolling drive with the PCR and traffic police after cases of snatching, car-jacking and robbery saw an alarming increase in the area eight months ago. However, despite the measure and Delhi Police’s claim to concentrate on reducing street and petty crime in the city, Dwarka continues to report several cases of street crime. With many dimly lit bylanes and service lanes and deserted stretches in the area, instances of petty crime are regular and common, complained residents.
Said a senior police officer of the area, “Despite our best efforts, pickets, PCR vans and police presence, the area is tough to handle as there are many deserted and dark stretches.”
“We don’t venture out after 7pm. My 23-year-old daughter, who works in CP, comes back by metro and the station is hardly 1 km from our residence from where she can easily walk back or take a rickshaw. But we insist on picking her up because it is not at all safe. I even avoid driving alone in the deserted stretches after 7pm because we hear horror stories almost daily from others. While going to office, I avoid a stretch which is completely devoid of traffic signals and would make my journey infinitely shorter just because I don’t dare to,” complained Tilottama Lahiri, a resident.
Said president of DDA flats in sector 2, pocket 1 Naseeruddin Khan, “The crime against women is unpardonable in the city – in Dwarka and elsewhere. Incidents of stalking, rape and molestation are reported frequently and I am filled with a sense of sadness and helplessness and it is difficult to get over them.”
The area, which earlier came under one police station, has been split up between three police stations – Dwarka North, Dwarka South and Dwarka West – due to the spiralling crime rate. With wide roads and adjoining villages and construction in the area, Dwarka has proved to be a safe haven for criminals.
Residents claimed that lamp posts don’t work in most stretches, especially near the metro stations, making them all the more vulnerable to untoward incidents. “The roads leading from the metro stations to the main road are not well-lit and even though there are lamp posts in place, we have never seen them switched on and don’t know why this is the case. Even on the service lanes there are big trees that are not pruned and these are lonely stretches that we don’t dare walking though,” claimed Payal Sinha, aresident of sector 15 Dwarka.
Explained Dr. Arundhati Mukherjee, a resident of sector 2, “The stretch near Bhaskaracharya hospital is especially unsafe. Incidents of petty crime are reported even inside the colonies where parked cars, car-stereos and other petty thefts are common and reported regularly. I don’t venture out in the evening and the lanes and bylanes are very deserted. Incidents of eveteasing are common.”
Other residents complained that they faced extreme trouble in registering a case with the local police. “I had heard from my neighbours that registering a case in Dwarka was an uphill task when I first shifted to the area two years ago. However, I still received an unpleasant shock when a man jumped a red light, rammed into my car and sped off and I called the police. They seemed more interested in harassing me rather than catching the culprit. Finally, I had to leave without registering any complaint,” said an angry resident, Vidushi Talwar.