Pink Booths: Delhi Police Attempt to Curb Crime Against Women in the City

© Deexa KhanduriPink Booth At Janpath Market
Pink Booth At Janpath Market  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.03.2022
According to the annual report from the Delhi Police, rape cases rose 21.6 percent and molestation cases up 17 percent rise in molestation cases in 20221.
Delhi Police have launched an all-woman personnel-run initiative, Pink Police Booth in an attempt to reduce the crimes committed against women, and to handle women-related crimes more sensitively.
The project was launched in February, but there are now 59 booths around the Indian capital which, thanks to being a bright pink, are easily visible from far away.
Janpath is a popular street market in the heart of Delhi and is usually crowded with women of all ages who are drawn to the place by its array of stalls selling clothes, fashion accessories, and homeware - among other things.
Thefts and abuse often go unreported because of how sensitive and time-consuming they are. But with the pink booths, police are now tackling these crimes in Delhi's crowded markets - particularly those which predominantly attract women, such as Janpath, Sarojini, Nagar and Kamla - siting the booths either in the marketplace or within 300 metres from the entrance.
Speaking about the need for such a refuge, Lovey Priyanka, sub-inspector of the Janpath pink booth, told Sputnik: "The pink booth aims to provide women with instant relief should any need arise at the market."
Radha Sharma, a 36-year-old schoolteacher, told Sputnik: "In 2018, I was robbed near a New Delhi railway station, and I didn't complain about it. I didn't want to go to a police station and answer several questions as I was already panicking."
And Astha Gaur, a 23-year-old student at Delhi University, said: "I believe every woman who has lived in the city for 15 to 20 years must have faced harassment in the streets, or not felt safe at night. And, generally, we don't complain about this."
Asked why they are so reticent to report these abuses, Gaur says: "We don't want to get into any legal trouble. Sometimes, we report a few goons who are just standing and staring at us, and making us feel uncomfortable. These are not really official complaints."
As Gaur and her friends from university take selfies outside the pink booth, Sneha Singh said: "This is a nice initiative, giving a sense of security to women. We don't really have to file a complaint and can just share our problems with women officers."
© Deexa KhanduriPink Booth In Delhi's Chankyapuri Area
Pink Booth In Delhi's Chankyapuri Area - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.03.2022
Pink Booth In Delhi's Chankyapuri Area
Not Just Security, Also Career Advice for Sex Workers
The pink booth in Garstin Bastion Road (popularly known as GB Road), is barely a kilometre from the Old Delhi railway station and in one of India's busiest red-light districts. This booth, as well as providing sanctuary for women, has the added purpose of offering careers advice so that prostitutes can try to get a different job.
Nidhi (her name has been changed for her safety), a sex worker, was lured to this region 12 years ago by a man who promised her work and then forced her into prostitution once she arrived at GB Road. Four years ago, she gave birth to a baby boy.
Wearing the traditional garb of a long, blue kurta and white pyjamas, Nidhi is now taking sewing classes and is confident that within three months she will learn her craft and will be able to find employment as a dressmaker in the city.
"I want to save for my son's education. My life will change if I learn and get a job. Nobody wants to live in a brothel," Nidhi said.
Police sub-inspector Kiran Sethi, who manages the area's pink booth, said nobody gets into prostitution by choice.
“More than 70 percent of women living here want to leave, and live a regular life. But their family has abandoned them. Most of them are uneducated. We're trying to help them," Sethi added.
On the first floor of the pink booth, Sethi said that they have installed computers and sewing machines for the time being.
© Photo : TwitterDelhi Police has partnered with several platform to skill up women
Delhi Police has partnered with several platform to skill up women  - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.03.2022
Delhi Police has partnered with several platform to skill up women
"We're also trying to conduct workshops where skilled women, such as nurses, etc, will train them, and we will try to get a job for them. It's a small start and there's a long road ahead," Sethi added.
She also highlighted that one needs to remember the condition of the women living in GB Road was severely affected during the COVID-induced lockdown.
GB Road has approximately 2,000 sex workers living in the area.
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