When Darkness Falls in Delhi

By Matthew Harwood

It is not an either-or situation, however. In fact, Bhat acknowledges that Delhi has also aggressively prosecuted male offenders; the city has the highest rape conviction rate in all of India. And Kashyap says that the police have been instrumental in setting up rape crisis response centers across the city as well.

Police have also been proactive at spreading the message that their officers are doing everything they can to protect Delhi’s women. In a letter to a journalist published on the Delhi Police Web site, Special Commissioner Ranjit Narayan stressed that the police have set up special helpdesks for women in all police stations. The letter also noted that they deploy police vans to pick up stranded women at night and have created two help lines for women to call if they’re in trouble or become the target of obscene phone calls or stalkers.

Protecting women in Delhi continues to be an uphill battle, however. Bhat blames the “feudal thinking” that still permeates much of India. “There is this sanctity for violence against women, which encourages people to continue to do these kinds of things,” she says.

That problem, unfortunately, is not unique to India.



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