Thursday, 30 May 2013

Dangerous Games? Sexy Applications?

By Amitabh Kumar - Head of Media Division (Centre for Social Research)
Just recently we 'the social media citizens' witnessed/participated/got to know, about the #Fb Rape campaign. A campaign against 'Rape Culture' being promoted on Facebook. Facebook pages with graphic details of barbaric acts being shared/liked/commented upon. Facebook came up with honest replies & are constantly making efforts to keep the world’s largest social media portal away from sexual violence.

Online stalking and abuse is an ever increasing concern even amongst the most liberal advocates of Freedom of Internet from any kind of censorship/control. (I am usually a supporter of this line of thought). I want to view this from a different perspective. From the perspective of how technology is affecting the culture of sexual violence.


Sex & violence have been present in Video games since Online-Systems released 'SoftPorn Adventures’ back in 1981. Since then we have seen an increase in the number of games out there with sexually violent graphic content. Most of the consumers of these games are children of the age group 8-16. I am sure the arguments of bad parenting, etc. will pop up in your mind, sadly in today’s times if parents have a job they don’t have time for kids, ( if they are jobless, well then god help their little ones ). No matter how we view it, Kids are playing these games.

Of course, some people would disregard video games as child’s play, but it’s much more than that. "Video games change your brain," according to University of Wisconsin psychologist C. Shawn Green. Playing video games change the brain’s physical structure the same way as do learning to read, playing the piano, or navigating using a map. Much like exercise can build muscle, the powerful combination of concentration and rewarding surges of neurotransmitters like dopamine strengthen neural circuits that can build the brain.

At least till a couple of years back, such games had to be purchased, lately the trend has changed, thanks to piracy most of the games are available online for free. In fact if were to look into mobile games and applications one would say it has not been easier to gain access to sexually violent material. I am a recent Android convert, Just the other day while flipping through top free applications, I came across a bunch of Porn/Erotic Stories/Tear off her clothes/ Finger her to climax/ Desi Sex videos, I am sure you get the gist.

Placing myself in shoes of a 8 year old, here I am looking for some cricket game & there I find this game about how to tear of clothes of a women. Where is the fun in that? What’ so exciting about it? Is that what girls like?. So many questions but no one to answer them, at best one of the parents finds it on my phone & tells me it is wrong/evil/not for kids. All other case scenarios lead to even more confusion. So what do I suggest, to ban them?.......Never !, To control them?……. nah was not really a fan of that ever. How about we modify them, in built super sexy educational videos about sex. How about curbing the inquisitiveness in a positive direction.

Google, the marketing Giants controlling the internet, can surely do this experiment at their playstore. Don’t edit the apps, ensure they carry enough information so that the user does no 'misuse' them. Almost like a Usersmanual. What I fail to understand is how does the world best Job provider, who claims to be dedicated towards its workers, does not do the same when it comes to its users. I have been a Google believer ever since I shifted to Gmail, a company with the motto of 'Doing No Evil' is surely a corporation we can look up to for setting new trends of business practices.

A good aspect of Google & Facebook is they give users chance to flag objectionable posts/ads/apps. Though this would work wonderfully if the majority of users were active, sadly as most users avoid such content they do not indulge in reporting it. This function if looked into by some honest designers could be such an amazing tool where users can choose the content they want. Well till the time these huge corporation contemplate on being more responsible, at least we could be the ones clicking away.

We have started a petition, requesting Google to segregate Adult content on its android #Playstore, if you agree, Please Sign....

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Porn – The Good, the Bad and the darn right Sexy

By Amitabh Kumar - Head, Media Division - Centre for Social Research
Pornography comes from the Greek word: πορνεία, porneia, as in the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual gratification. Most of us have come across this Greek classic under various other names such as "porn" , "blue films", "adult entertainment movies" or if you have found yourself in conversation with Indian diplomats lately, "obscene films". Some people love it, some hate it, a few have censored this term from their vocabulary and most people deny ever having watched it BUT in my experience all Indians above the age of twelve (yes that does include people living in rural areas as well) know of its existence. As the expression goes, if it looks, talks and smells like pornography, it's most likely pornography. It's hard to miss.

In India, it's not a new phenomena given that our most ancient sculptures, scriptures and artistic renditions have been as sexually explicit as possible, often making the odd western tourist blush and giggle upon viewing. In fact the Kamasutra explores and celebrates our human form and sexual behavior in a manner which Playboy and Penthouse (cheap American wannabes ) can simply never aspire to be. However, without wanting to be accused of ranting and raving about how amazing we were 5000 years ago, I will defer to examining pornography as a contemporary notion that exists in India in 2013.

In order to do so, we must turn back the clock to 1995 with the advent of cable, foreign and western television being introduced into Indian homes, and conversely the rise of the adult entertainment industry. From a personal standpoint, I clearly remember the eighth grade when all the so-called "cool boys" in my class used to discuss in vivid detail the heavenly 30 mins of pleasure viewed on FTV at 3am when their parents were asleep. For the sake of honesty, I have to admit that I felt quite left out of these conversations as an eighth grader who felt no particular affiliation to any one tribe in the school yard. Indeed, I was neither part of the cool clan nor did I have access to premium cable television at 3am. Though most of metropolitan India was not in the same shoes as I. It was not a hidden secret, as the Indian judiciary is well aware of its existence, as FTV has had many cases against held them in the past, with the latest just a few weeks back.

In addition, with the advent of the Internet being introduced to the public on 15 August 1995 via the Ministry of Telecommunications, internet traffic reports soon highlighted 12% of all internet use being pornography-related with roughly 4.2 million websites catering to adult entertainment and 1.5 billion pornographic files being downloaded on a monthly basis comprising 35% of all downloads (Charged with obscenity, FTV faces 10-day ban) Inevitably, conservative Indians can always be relied upon to jump up in horror and criticize the rising popularity of such internet sites and decry in unison that this only takes place in the "West" and never in India. I would recommend that they all read Damayanti Datta's well-crafted piece The Dark Side of Sunny Porn Not only have various pornographic videos hit our national headlines, as with all the drama of a real-life "scandals", (be it the DPS kids or our very own Karnataka parliamentarians), but there are also surveys and statistics which demonstrate how common pornography truly is in India. There is no denying the fact that India is one of the largest consumers of porn, which is not a surprise given the size of our population, with the result being that we can normally be found at the top of most Top 5 lists.

Having established the fact that pornography is present in India, I would like to look into its effects. For starters it is confronting the hypocritical generation, which has put sexual behavior in the category of all "bad things", which includes (alcohol, drugs, pre-marital romantic relations, eating various sorts of meats (beef or pork depending on the color of your book) etc… There is no doubt that in such a multicultural and plural state, this list is exhaustive on its own.

According to a survey undertaken by the Max Hospital in Delhi over 47 % of children in public schools discuss porn on a daily basis (Internet Pornography Statistics). Sadly their curiosity and questions are rarely addressed by any reliable source. Parents, usually minimally informed themselves on this topic, consequently have no idea how to explain or contextualize their children's questions in this regard. Similarly, teachers are usually apprehensive of words such as penis and vagina being considered to be scandalous and therefore not worth mentioning aloud. If one is lucky, an elder mature cousin will explain sexual intercourse and the terminology in a neutral way (though I must admit the first time I was supposed to be this elder cousin, it was a hard task at which I failed miserably). Sadly most young people venture into this arena all by themselves. As a result, pornography steps in to this vacuum to parent and instruct our children.

Yes they experiment and yes they will mess up leading to various sorts of complications ranging from teenage pregnancies to naked pictures of friends circulated via text to non-consensual hidden camera videos showing up on the internet. Considering that we are one of the most talented and educated nations when it comes to victimization and the subsequent victim-blaming game, many young people have suffered because of these innocent misinterpretations. Some theories relate porn to the increased sexual violence amongst young adults and I must admit that I do see a correlation between the two.

However, let us not dismiss this as simply an issue that confronts our youth. Indeed, pornography has affected the older generation of 25-55 year olds significantly as well. Where some couples have found inspiration in these XXX rated websites, videos and magazines to rekindle their sex lives others have taken to this fantasy world so seriously that it is damaging their real relationships. Many marriages are on the brink of falling apart due to the unrealistic expectations advanced and expected by one partner. (I clearly used the word "partner" rather than "husband" as one in every three porn consumers is a woman. Shocking isn't it? Indian women also watch porn. Take a moment to absorb that (Perils of voyeurism).

So it exists and it affects us all, but what is our communal take on pornography? Some Indians believe it should be banned from the Internet completely, while others are of the view that it should be distributed in a regulated manner. The law, like most of our laws, is rather complicated on this front although it clearly states that pornography is illegal and yet the cyber crime cell has no clue how to implement it. Let's proceed into looking into them one by one. Much like movies, porn also has a multitude of genres to include child pornography, snuff films ( where the actor is murdered, mostly fakes but there are rumors of 'real' movies also being produced), rape and similar brutal/criminal/disgusting movies. I think the people making such films should be incarcerated and so should the consumers requesting and paying for such productions. To put it in context, on a daily basis 116 000 requests for child pornography are made with over 100 000 illegal sites offering such material and 1 in 7 youths having been subject to sexual solicitation. I think most individuals out there would agree that this form of "entertainment" causes more harm than it does good and even the most hardcore supporters of free speech would agree that the above-mentioned genres should be prohibited.

Heavens, did I just type PROHIBITED? Undoubtedly, my liberal, freedom of speech loving friends will rise up in contempt against the very introduction of such a concept. As this is a socio-legal issue, I think one needs to segregate in the two largely independent issues, namely how pornography is created and what are the effects of consuming pornography.

While the first issue can be clearly examined through a legal lens, the second one is an extremely complex matter, which has received significantly less attention of late. One could say that if pornography is made and disseminated with the consent of those who perform in it (provided they can be classified as legally defined adults), no one should really have an issue with it.

The effects of its consumption are both complicated and disputed. On the one hand, a study conducted in Japan in 1997-98 came to the conclusion that there was a clear correlation between sexual violence and rape, and on the other hand a paper by Todd T. Kendall entitled Pornography, Rape and the Internet claims that online pornography actually decreases rape. Suffice it to say, the evidence isn't as opaque as one might hope. In my opinion, if properly examined, the outreach of the legal pornography industry could be used for good much like spreading the message of the importance of consent. Using it as a tool to discuss sexuality, Dan Savage provides a concise and impressive review of its potential impacts .

Inevitably, the power of multimedia in our world as connected through the Internet is immense. If we can use this force to spread awareness we can certainly achieve a lot more in terms of gaining further clarity in terms of our questions, hesitations and confusion when it comes to our consumption of pornography and its effects on both an individual and communal level in the short and long-term. However, first we must tackle the authorities and leaders that bind us who maintain such a narrow approach towards the large horizon that is the internet that there is very little that can be achieved before this is addressed and taken in hand.

Inevitably, the power of multimedia in our world connected through the Internet is immense and has deep potential. If we can use this force to spread awareness we can certainly achieve a lot more in terms of gaining further clarity in terms of our questions, hesitations and confusion when it comes to our consumption of pornography and its effects on both an individual and communal level. However, first we must tackle the authorities and leaders that bind us, who maintain such a narrow approach towards the large horizon that is the Internet. There is very little that can be achieved before this is addressed and taken in hand. Indeed, let us not deny what is most obvious to us all, the fact that pornography can act as an agent of violence. However, the question worth asking is whether it can also carry valuable awareness messages. If executed properly and conscientiously can pornography develop into a tool for the dissemination of sex education? The optimist in me may be veering off course, but if the high minds at Disney managed to weave the pursuit for women into the narrative of Beauty and The Beast (and every other famous cartoon for that matter) surely the producers of pornography can find a way to shed some much-needed light on sexual behaviour through porn?

Many questions and fewer answers it would seem.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Virtual Threat : the new ‘Real’ for the Indian Woman

By Ishita Y. Aggarwal - Centre for Social Research
“If it’s not on your face (literally) it’s not important.” This may be the solacing refrain of all those women who continue to feel and fear torment not just physically but also virtually. Yet the “not important” has probably become the definition of the new “cool” for a certain somebody: the chic way to continue the abashed trend of harassing women. Let’s call these ‘youngsters’ trying to have some ‘fun’ or sometimes ‘proving points’ by dragging women to the virtual ground, as cyber-stalkers, cyber-harassers or just simply cyber-criminals: Chic?

But, what or where’s the ‘real’ threat in a virtual world? You do not like what they say? Don’t read! You do not like what they do? Do not see! You do not like being soiled in an argument with them? Do not speak! There we are! We have replicated the 3-monkey-model of the Gandhi era. Who does it apply to in the IT era? Women, of course! That now, is ‘threat’ enough.

They say women have been targeted globally but what is more important (let’s not also forget) is that they have been targeted, essentially. The factor which makes women “essential” targets is the urge both men as well as some hallowed women (who have reached the same consciousness as that of these men) feel in order to: set things right or just oblige themselves under the ‘fundamental’ Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. To their utter delight these persons have of late been helping themselves to the free, easily accessible, ‘world wide web’. The web spins itself out with a single ‘click’, much like how Spiderman would do it. But this one is for your eyes only.

Weaving crime online may be somebody’s game but for the rest it is step in a dangerous whirlpool. The’ Tamil Nadu Federation of Women Layers’ in a report spoke extensively of the cyber threats women face in the country . A list of identified crimes drawn is:
  • Harassment via e-mails
  • Cyber Stalking
  • Cyber Pornography
  • Defamation
  • Morphing
  • Email Spoofing
While it is not completely appropriate to say that victims of cyber-crimes are women alone, 75 per cent of these cases have been known to target women. With regard to cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment a study was conducted in 2007 which revealed the shocking data that at least 12.5 per cent women who were being stalked online had a personal or intimate relation which the abuser. 62.5 per cent of the harassers set themselves into the process through online chats or e-mails.

The ‘Quick Heal Annual Windows and Mobile Malware Report, 2012’ revealed that while the PC continued to be a potential target, malware is increasing on mobile platforms, especially ‘Android’. There has been a 90 per cent spurt in ‘Windows’ malware in India while attacks on mobile platforms have risen by 30 per cent. This now puts at risk women android users who may be using networking ‘apps’ such as the popular “Whatsapp” amongst others.

The rise is social voyeurism is being fed by digital nuisance. 50 per cent of the websites available contain pornographic content .The latest MMS sex-scandal involving a popular small screen actress, has been confirmed by the Cyber Crime Cell as ‘morphed’ . The offending sites have been booked under the IT Act 2000 and IPC 1860. This case stands as an example of the multiple MMSs which spread like plague while the police authorities keep grappling for cyber-monitoring.

Delhi has been zapped by the sudden spurt in cyber-crime which has gone up by 1850% since 2010 which reported 2 cases and 2011 which saw 39 . Only 15 persons were arrested for cyber crime in Delhi in 2011 under the IT Act and 36 under the IPC. There were 496 reported cases of obscene publication online in the country in 2011. 443 arrests were made. Without delivering a direct comment on that number, it is more convenient to understand the issue this way: out of 3682 crimes registered under the IT Act in 2011, the number of arrests was 1600, but the number of convictions was 7 .

Apart from sexually-laced incidents against women online, a general trend of viewing women as easy targets for harassment, in an easy situation, is also growing. The benefit of the virtual space for the criminal is that it keeps the identity of the offender conveniently veiled. The government and the Indian Police are also thoroughly unaware of what constitutes cyber-freedom. The ‘Palghar Facebook arrest’ case outraged the country when two young girls were arrested for posting a comment on social networking site, Facebook. They were questioning the ‘bandh’ over Shiv Sena supremo, Bal Thackray’s death. The police itself subsequently dropped charges against the girls but the Maharashtra government has been left red-faced for a long time to come. The dropping of charges may be a welcome act but why did the illegitimacy behind the arrests not oblige the authorities to render compensation to the two accused?

Activists have recently been mass targeted by pro-Modi supporters for having expressed views and concerns over his policies and claims. Misogynists roared “like the women in Gujarat, you should have been raped because you converted”. Any steps taken against this one? None.

The greatest dilemma of our system is that though the IT Act, 2000 covers online abuse and its various forms, it does not anywhere mention cyber-crimes specific to women. The closest we get to the common online women-abuse law is Section 66 A of the IT Act, which states/covers :

  • Punishment for sending offensive messages via electronic mail message
  • Any electronic mail message that is grossly offensive or is menacing
  • Any false information causing annoyance, insult, danger
  • Causing inconvenience
  • Deceiving or misleading recipient
If found guilty of the crime offenders may face up to 3 years in jail as well as penalty. Aggrieved women can also charge under Section 509 of the IPC which considers “Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman” as a crime.

The thought of apathetic cyber-jurisdiction, loss of evidence online, lack of cyber-savvy police and jurisdictional personnel, is mind-boggling. It is up to the nation to learn the tricks before the democratic women of this country continue to be soiled with the increasingly undemocratic cyber-abuse. A nation where only 39 per cent of 137 million users are females, the online perception of women may be as skewed as the user ratio itself. The virtual reality reflects societal reality. The woman who cannot exercise her basic freedoms to speech, movement and individuality in reality is assaulted the same way when she is found navigating spaces, online. The call for online morality will lead to a subjective debate. What the women need is to brace themselves up. They need to report and be assured that arrests would lead to convictions! There is no reason why a virtual threat or offence should not be looked upon with as much seriousness as any physical assault. In fact, it is essential to note here that nothing about these threats is, ‘virtual’. It is as real as it can get. Women cannot continuously be given solutions for prevention. What they deserve is redemption: from all the crass, virtual or not.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Police Initiatives for Women Related Offences

By Ishita Y. Aggarwal - Centre for Social Research
In a bid to make the cases of ‘violence against women’ and ‘sexual offences’ more transparent and rid them of controversial clauses, certain amendments have been made to the procedural conduct of cases. For dowry or rape related cases the police now bear the onus of communicating, through any possible means, the listing of bail applications in favour of the accused. It had been observed earlier that since the police were not bound to inform the complainant about the issuance of bail by the court, the victims were unable to challenge the bail due to their absence and lack of information. This had been widely interpreted by complainants as collusion between the police and the criminals.

Whenever a bail matter is listed for a rape accused, the lawyer of the Delhi Commission for Women should be immediately informed at the following numbers of Rape Crisis Cell’(RCC) of the Delhi Commission for Women-

RCC Help Line No. : 011-23370557(10 AM to 5 AM)
Mobile No. : 09013707460 (after office hours)
Fax No. : 011-23378325
Email ID :
Address : Delhi Commission for Women, ‘C’ Block, 2nd Floor,Vikas Bhawan, I.P.Estate, New Delhi.

The representatives of the Delhi Commission for Women have assured that they would send their lawyers to oppose the bail if timely information is given to them. To reaffirm the commitment to treat sexual offences at workplace as a crime, districts and units were advised to set up committees headed by a Women Police Officer, with 50% women members in each district/Unit. A central committee consisting of Chairperson, two members and an NGO, ‘Nav Jayoti Delhi Police Foundation’, situated at, Vikas Bhawan, Sanjay Amar Colony, Jamna Pusta, Delhi-110007 has also been constituted at Police Headquarters to over-see the action taken by the committees.

The Supreme Court of India has held that harassment at work place includes:-
  • Physical contact and advances
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Sexually coloured remark
  • Showing pornography, and
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non verbal conduct of a sexual nature
Necessary steps have been taken in the direction to ensure the protection of the ‘Right of Privacy’ of the victims of sexual offence. in all cases of sexual assault, particularly cases involving gang-rape or cases where the identity of the accused is not known to the victim is a child, DNA profiling should be conducted mandatorily. The Rohini Court has observed that the PV or finger test is not a required means of investigation to corroborate the charges of guilt. In fact it was stated that the opinion of the Doctors rendered after conducting such a test had no bearing with regard to the guilt or the accused.

It has also been directed that the investigating officers exercise professional attitude while handling cases of sexual offence. At the time of recording of First Information Report, the victim should interact with the Investigation Officer in a peaceful environment to ensure maximum information about the incident and victim herself. After getting initial information, a responsible lady police official should talk to the victim at length to yield purposeful personal information about the victim. This will help prosecution to produce the victim in the Court during trial. During this interaction, expert members of NGOs working in this filed can also be associated so that the victim may feel more comfortable. The interaction between the victim and the Investigation Officer should be an effort to gain maximum details from the victim so as to enable the victim to produce substantial evidence before the court.

DNA Profiling in Sexual Assault Case Mandatory
Instructions with respect to victims of sexual offences/rape etc
Listing of Bail to be Communicated to Complainant
Sexual Harassment at work place
Report to mention if approval of DCP over bail was sought
No PV/Finger Text for Sexual Assault Cases
Opposing bail of Rape accused in Courts by lawyers of the Delhi Commission for Women

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Celebrity above the Law?

By Shubhang Srivastava - National Institute of Technology, Raipur
Dear Mr. Katju,

I write this open letter to you on your seeking of pardon of Mr. Sanjay Dutt through the Governor of Maharashtra in the case relating to possession of illegal weapons. Sir, as a distinguished member of the Judiciary and incumbent chairman of the Press Council of India it is disheartening to find you indulging in such activities which amount to undermining of the orders of the Supreme Court.

I must preface my letter with the fact that I have no personal animosity towards Mr. Dutt, whom I find to be an able actor, and henceforth would refer him as the Actor. I write this letter to bring to light the difference created in our society by starry eyed Justices such as Mr. Katju.

In an article published in the Hindu (22-March-2013) Mr. Katju seeks pardon for the actor on the following grounds:
  • That he has not been found guilty in the 1993 Mumbai blasts
  • The Actor has suffered a lot during the period of twenty years of the trial where he had to take permission for foreign shoots and couldn’t get Bank loans.
  • The actor’s parents worked for the good of the society (and were also MP’s), often going to border areas to give support to our jawans.
  • And now the most epitome of ridiculous: Through his films he has revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and message of Gandhiji.
To any able headed persons the above propositions are absurd, and that coming from a former Supreme Court Judge they are all the more depressing. That a person whose responsibility had been to uphold law, “equally for everyone”, should pick up one case and use his powers to influence the matter is highly derogatory. Mr. Katju better than anyone knows the number of cases pending in the Indian Judicial system and still of all the people you believe that it is the actor who has suffered a lot? India is famous for a lot of things, judicial process is NOT one of them, and everyone who has to pass through its hollowing walls has to suffer. I respect the ruling of the court which exonerated the Actor in his association with the Mumbai blasts, but nonetheless found him guilty of possession of illegal weapons. Let us say the actor was a victim of the circumstances, caught in an illegal act at the wrong place (Mumbai) at the wrong time (December 1993), even then he broke the law. And this article is not about the actor actually, it’s about the flaws in our judicial process which had vertically divided the society into two: one for whom law is a tool and others for whom it is a fear.

What Mr. Katju has conveyed here is that is you are the have nots of laws then the judiciary is apathetic to you. Your sufferings die down and of course there are no governor given, PCI Chief facilitated pardons, for you. The stand of Mr. Katju is most depressing for a society that is still in a phase of transformation, his reasons downright silly.

Agreed the parents of the actors were great social workers, does that exonerate him from any offence and sentence awarded by the Supreme Court? By the poorest estimate a thousand people or more were involved in the making of Lage Raho MunnaBhai, does that exempt them from any form of offence, criminal or otherwise? And what about the viewers? Do they get a respite from small offence like parking challans if they were to produce tickets of the movie? The points put forward by Mr. Katju are lame, even to a rather under-studied person like me.

And if we were to agree to the validity of the above stated points of Mr. Katju and act upon them then should they also be applied to all individuals? If the Justice so believes then I admire his deep insight and he might just be a man of revolution who would step down from the Chair of PCI and study all such cases in the Indian courts and appeal for the Governor’s clement in cases he finds suitable?

Are you ready to do that? Or have you too become blind to the common man’s plight and focus years of experience into getting royal pardons for the people on the haves of the law? (It must be noted that it was he who pointed out the technicality in the sentence saying that if a minimum sentence is awarded in any case it can be considered by the Governor for clemency).

At a time when the world is keenly observing our law system such endorsements by Mr. Katju who represents the fraternity of Judiciary hangs my head in shame. The message we send across to the world is this: We will come down hard if your marines kill our citizens, even if the case is disputed of being within the ambit of our law (it is disputes if the Italian Marines were in international waters) we will overarch ourselves. If required we will revoke the immunity of your diplomat confronting the Vienna Convention but we have ways of keeping our favorite people (the rich and famous) out of bars.

While this letter may never reach you let me tell you that Mr. Katju here is one youth of the country who is disenchanted by you, is fast losing faith into the judiciary of India. It may never matter to you, for the judicial divide created by you I find myself on the wrong side, one that does not matter, and one that your star gazing eyes cannot see. In one of my interviews I was asked the question of what is wrong with India, today I would have begin with you.

If my letter or its conscience reaches you and you believe in what you said that study all the cases and show that the law is equal for all. But you won’t. Because you know it is not.

Before the letter is published the actor may be granted clemency, my best wishes to him, because even as I write hoards of actor-turned-old-turned-politicians are queuing outside the Governor’s office on the actor’s behalf. Only if they took such vigilance and sympathy in the life of every Indian.

Ps: My parent’s have not done social work, neither have I and for the record I have not watched the Munna Bhai movie in the threatres. God save me if I find myself on the wrong side of law.

Shubhang Srivastava,
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.
National Institute of Technology, Raipur.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Feel like getting intimate with strangers in Delhi? There's no place like a public bus.

By Amitabh Kumar: Head, Media and Communication- Centre for Social Research
The Delhi Transport Cooperation (DTC) is one of the main arteries that helps Delhi run on time. Or at least attempt to run on some concept of "time". Its buses zigzag over a thousand different bus routes across this maze of a city, serving an area of 1484 square/km. (Just imagine, that's twice the size of Bahrain). The DTC also caters to 33% of Delhi’s population with roughly 5,383,896 ticket holders jumping on and off every year. Now that's just about the population of Singapore. You know where I'm going with this, serving such a large customer-base over such a densely-populated area, the DTC is a behemoth, which needs to be handled properly.

The spread and outreach of the network is as grand as they come and serviced at the cheapest rate one can think of. Let me start out by saying that the price per kilometer ratio is something DTC can really be proud of. However, an aspect DTC seems to have overlooked is the number of people who can and should be able to travel on a DTC bus on any given journey.

The figure above is the structure of the DTC bus currently gracing Delhi's roads. As one can see there are 41 seats allocated, by design, for passengers. Yes, yes 2 seats are technically occupied by a ticket collector so that brings us down to 39 seats for us to choose from. Barring this provision, according to the manufacturers of this fleet of buses (the one and only Tata Motors) there is a standing area of 13 square meters (140 sq/feet) in the event we choose to stand.

Now let's get real about these numbers (and stick with me!). Trust me. Lay out some newspaper on the floor, pick up a regular large ruler (12 inches) and draw a square ( 36 inches each side) and you are left with exactly 3 square feet. Now stand in your square and you'll quickly come to the realization that this represents the minimum amount of space one requires to stand comfortably (also putting into consideration, this bus is moving through Delhi traffic, being driven by people who live by the slogans of Fast & the Furious ). So as per my human (and admittedly homemade calculation), I am of the view that roughly 47 healthy Delhiites can and should be able to stand happily on a DTC bus as they navigate around Delhi.

Nevertheless, if we were to go by the Australian standard for a sheep yard (again stick with me) only 32 sheep could stand and be merry in an area of 13 sq/m . Then again this is India and we are faced with the uphill battle of battling poverty and excessively high population density which goes unchecked on a daily basis. Alas, although we can happily compete with Australia when it comes to wicket keeping and scoring centuries on the cricket pitch, when it comes to notions of personal space, we can't even dream of competing with their sheep. Certainly very pampered sheep indeed.

97. No I'm not referring to the congressional district in Florida or even the first two digits when calling Bhutan. The magical number of ‘97’ represents the ‘crush passenger-carrying capacity’ according to Tata Motors. I'm not entirely sure what the detailed implications are of breaching this threshold, but the name lives up to it. If 97 commuters manage to pack themselves in a DTC bus they will find themselves crushing one another and getting quite intimate.

Undoubtedly, the reality of riding a DTC bus is certainly more ruthless than the theoretical estimates provided as the number of people standing in a bus easily exceeds the one referred to by Tata Motors in terms of ‘crush passenger-carrying capacity’.

Just the sheer discomfort of being enclosed in a limited space, with less than ideal smells engulfing the available fresh air, and being pushed and shoved from one direction to another inevitably leads to certain people opting out of this otherwise amazing form of public transport. Even if each and every individual was well-mannered (and the majority of us are) there is no way of managing a DTC route without rubbing your body against at least 50 other strangers. What presents itself is an amazing opportunity for pleasure for the city's perverts and a climate of torture for the rest of us.

Women are groped and molested on a regular basis, pickpockets are given free rein to make their earnings resulting in most of us shying away towards our ever-polluting private vehicles. As much as I love my car, is it not time we look into creating proper guidelines to regulate these numbers? We need to define the number of passengers who can safely travel in a public bus and make it an enforceable requirement. Yes, yes, I can hear your eyes roll from here. Enforce a law you say? Yes! India has precise laws for governing the exact badge and uniform to be worn by the bus conductor as well as the number of people who can seatbelt themselves into a private vehicle. And yet, no regulations with regards to the maximum number of passengers who can travel on a government-run public transport bus? I think I need to step back into my newspaper square on the floor for a moment.

For all of you eye rollers who are probably already thinking "it'll never happen!", well I have some news for you. We called the DTC, the Delhi Traffic Police, even Tata Motors and not a single person had any clue about bus capacity. Many hours were spent on Google in the search of an official number and in the end we filed a PIL (about a month back and are awaiting a reply). Just yesterday we were in a meeting with the Lt. Governor of Delhi Tejendra Khanna, were I raised this issue, he asked for details. Where I posted to him in a hard copy marked( Special Commisioner Traffic Police Sudhir Yadav Ji, Minister of Transport Shri RamaKanth Goswami Ji & Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Shiela Dixit ji ) right before I posted this blog online. I never said it was great news. A few honest, well-planned steps and I believe we could bring about a major change in Delhi's public transport system. Now back to my newspaper square…

Monday, 18 March 2013

Separate Measures for a Universal Problem

By Blessing Okorougo : AIF Clinton Fellow at - Centre for Social Research
Separate Measures for a Universal Problem: Will Delhi Public Transport Ever Be Safe For Women?

Delhi is an aggressive city. A burgeoning metropolitan city that while expanding forward with its state of the art metro and the widening of its urban sprawls – a push for public security in the city particularly for women has largely stagnated.

In late 2012 after the brutal rape and murder of young Jyoti Pandey ‘Nirbhaya’-a promising physiotherapy internist, India has experienced a watershed moment in the spirit of its mass protest against the mistreatment of women and young girls in Delhi since. With men, women and the youth coming together to speak out against the violent culture of rape, degradation and subjugation towards women and young girls in India- the country has had to address it’s pervasive misogynist culture which lead to the violent end to a young girls life in Delhi and continues to threaten the safety of many others around India.

Everyday women and young girls board over packed buses, crowded trains and metros with fear in their hearts. Whether it is daybreak or sundown- safety can never be taken for granted in a city such as Delhi where men can continue their invasion of women’s rights with impunity. The fear of being groped, harassed or violated on public transport is always a source of tension at the forefront of many women’s thoughts.

With a slow but steady rise of acceptance for women only cars in metros and the growing strength in numbers of women’s only taxies, one must question if women taking charge and providing for the assurance of their own transport security is the answer to the public safety of women in Delhi and around India. Are women conquering the problem or mobilizing a short term alternative that only belies the real problem: the judicial complacency towards the woeful female public safety record of India’s public transportation system.

Certainly the idea is more attractive for those who depend on public transportation, for those that must travel in the night and for those with children or travel alone. However, this short term answer may not be the long term solution or make a dent in tackling the larger issue of how to facilitate a sustainable response to the problem of making public transportation safety and security of women and young girls a priority.

Women globally face such issues when faced with the prospect of using public transport when travelling alone, at night or with children. I have personally been groped on a crowded New York City subway on a morning commute and with no recourse as my perpetrator disappeared in the crowd when I tried to alert an authority. However, the sense of insecurity is still worse in a city like Delhi for women than in more cosmopolitan cities like NY, London or Mumbai. In Delhi the culture insists that it is generally the woman’s fault with Delhi authorities often sweeping these problems under a rug- rendering them unimportant. One cannot help but feel that the situation in Delhi and other parts of India is rather unique.

As to whether installing separate avenues of transport for women is exclusionary, I don’t feel that this the real question. Rather, the question we should be asking is: how will Delhi go about installing measures to improve public safety for women accessing public transport?

If getting a rape conviction is difficult, it is fair to assume that a woman making a case for public safety as a priority would be an equally difficult task. While riding a separate cab or sitting in a women’s only car in the metro might feel safer, there are still nothing in place to ensure a woman’s safety when she gets out of her cab or leaves the metro.

The addition of gender sensitization courses in schools and the work place is a small step towards changing the culture of violence and aggression towards women- the same can be said of women empowering themselves with women only modes of transportation. The root of the problem which both solutions circumvent will ultimately need to be addressed in the creation of a stronger judicial response towards crimes against women, and deeply embedded culture of patriarchy. Sadly, this too may need a watershed moment before this mobilizes to fruition.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Women's rights: a stand alone agenda?

By Noushin Arefadib - Centre for Social Research
Following the recent rape and murder of the 23 year old medical student in Delhi, India and the International community at large, have commenced a more consistent discussion around women’s human rights in India. However, what seems to have fallen off the radar of most is that a woman’s access to human rights in India is often entirely reliant on her geographical location: urban vs. rural, and her social status: caste and class.

While social inequality is still a relevant topic in most countries, India’s long standing caste system continues to play a significant role in women’s ability to access basic human rights. Although the caste system is technically known to have been abolished, the reality is that this is something which is still very prevalent in Indian culture and everyday life. As such, a women’s place in modern day India stands at a crossroad of class, caste, and patriarchy.

Sadly, despite the fact that local, state, and federal policies exist pertaining to caste and gender based violence in India, there remains a significant discrepancy between written policy and policy implementation. Ancient practices that have come about as a result of the caste system and patriarchy are deeply embedded in Indian culture and cannot just be uprooted because of new government policies and legislations. Given this fact, is it really possible for one to discuss gender based violence in India without also exploring existing links between caste and gender, particularly when the subservience of women is central to the preservation of the caste system?

For example, women who reside in rural India face gender inequality on a different level than women in urban India. Such inequalities are further amplified by existing caste and class systems which result in women from rural areas having lesser access to education and health services, while concurrently facing increased levels of gender based violence. Women from lower castes are also more vulnerable to maternal and infant mortality, and have little decision-making power, all of which are indicators of women’s empowerment, or lack thereof.

In an India where the empowerment of women requires a multidimensional approach that recognizes the feminization of poverty, particularly in rural areas, is it enough to simply discuss women’s rights without acknowledging and addressing underlying causes of the current status quo?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Nirbhaya Fund: A flickering ray of Hope

By Shreya Gupta - Intern (Centre for Social Research)
Amidst huge uproar over women’s rights and safety issues within the country, the government on Thursday i.e. 28 Feb released its annual budget with a number of measures focussing solely on women. Projected as an all inclusive budget, it has endeavoured to meet the rising demands and need for upliftment of the usually marginalised and unaddressed groups. The government has proposed to set up an all exclusive women’s bank. This bank will cater to women customers and will lend money to support women self help groups and women- owned businesses. It will mostly employ women and initiated with a capital of Rs 1000 crore. In addition the budget also allocated a sum of Rs 500 crore for programs to combat sexual discrimination especially at workplace. Further, in wake of the recent rape incidents the government has also proposed to set up a special fund of Rs 1000 crore known as the Nirbhaya Fund. This fund has been set up for the empowerment and safety of women. The scope, structure and utilization would be decided by the Ministry of Women and Child and other concerned ministries.

Focussing on the Nirbhaya fund, a potentially loaded move has been made by the government irrespective of the political implications and motivations of the same. The big question is whether 1000 crore enough or is just a symbolic gesture? However the onus of its success now depends on the Ministry of Women and Child on how it plans to utilize this sum. A sincere and innovative effort can go a long way in improving the situation of women within the country.

Admitted it cannot magically transform the country into a safe haven for women but can be an important step towards making it one. I believe the ministry should take a fresh stand by taking into account views and suggestions of the people and experts similar to the setting up of the Justice Verma Committee. Further, I believe that a multi-tier approach should be adopted. The fund should be made open for donation and made a regular feature. The fund can be utilized in dealing both with post incident issues and taking preventative measures. Proper medical attention, provision of shelter homes and counselling are some of the essential requirements of a victim of abuse. Rehabilitation of the victim plays a pivotal role in bringing one back to any semblance of a normal life. Another aspect where this fund can be utilised in dealing with victims is provision of legal aid and facility. Specialised government advocates can be recruited to deal with crimes against women. Also this fund could be utilized in strengthening the women and children department of the police.

To deal with the preventative aspect numerous awareness campaigns can be launched which focus on both gender sensitization and dissemination of legal recourse available. A basic knowledge of legal provisions is a must for every citizen. Another approach that can help empower women is vocational trainings. Providing women with skills to become self reliant infuses a sense of confidence which will facilitate them in helping themselves.

We can all brainstorm and come up with ideas but what is important is how the government deals with it. So let’s wait and watch. Hope we receive a reason to rejoice!!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Delhi Police Recruits Women Officers

By Shreya Gupta - Intern (Centre for Social Research)
A long awaited move has been taken by the Delhi Police. Vacancies have been announced for the recruitment of 500 Temporary Women Constables (Executive). This is a significant move after the city has been plagued with complaints of rape, molestation and abuse. Women centric policing is the need of the hour and hopefully with increased number of women in the force, the situation may improve. At present there are 4,809 women officers of various ranks, ranging from constables to inspectors. Statistics reveal that there are 72 women inspectors – the rank at which they are made SHOs.

In 2011, 460 women constables had been trained as commandos and 25 imparted special training by CRPF. But despite regular presence of women officers in several cities across the country, Delhi Police continues to seriously lag behind. Women officers constitute a small 7% of the entire Delhi Police Force. Similarly other metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai have less than 10% women officers.

Till now women officers were usually involved in inconsequential and low ranks, owing to which their contribution had not been high. The move to recruit women officers at the executive level will thus increase their participation and contribution in policing. This presents a hopeful picture for the city’s future.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Reality Check? (ready with our checklist!!!)

By Shreya Gupta and Ishita Y. Aggarwal - Interns (Centre for Social Research)
Shreya and Ishita Interns (Centre for Social Research) land up with one assignment

Result: One report and one remark (which does not necessarily equal to a remarkable report, but we still want you to read)

First the report:

Is power and constant chaperoning the only solution to improve the safety concerns of women in the city? Focusing on this issue a committee has been formed comprising police officials, civil society members and social activists. This special committee chaired by Delhi Traffic Police Commissioner Mr. Sudhir Yadav looks into different means and measures for improving safety of women within the city and role that civil societies can play. Mr.Yadav, issued a report detailing the efforts started and proposed to enhance the safety of women in the city. A meeting held on 25th January, 2013 with other civil society actors and activists discussed the ongoing efforts by Delhi Police. Although much effort is visible in the city in terms of late night patrolling, increased number of PCR vans, extension of anti-violence schemes such as ‘Parivartan’ and other measures, the attitude of the police in local police stations and in dealing with women related cases still awaits change.

An important order which has been implemented is the abolition of the jurisdictional issue in registering complaints by women. A woman can now lodge her complaint with any local police station and expect full support from the personnel. The case would then subsequently be transferred to the appropriate police station. This ends the issue of harassment at the first point of contact. The ‘Aapka Scheme’ started by the Commissioner of Delhi Police, enables an update every fortnight on registered cases via email, sms or post. Local level committees are also being formed at every police station to improve women’s safety. The committee would be chaired by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and convened by the Station House Officer (SHO). Civil society members would include the Principal of a prestigious girls’ school of the area and an ex-serviceman among others. This is aimed at monitoring safety of women and girls, especially in areas frequented by them such as markets.

The agenda for the meeting this time was to discuss solutions to address safety of women in public places, identifying the infrastructural limitations, improvements in police procedures and the role civil societies can play in the same.

While reviewing the efficiency of helpline numbers it was suggested that the different lines should be combined into one common number. This adoption of a single helpline number might prove to be more effective as a cornered person need not remember numerous numbers. It was agreed that in a dangerous situation use of mobiles or telephones are the last thing on a person’s mind. Thus having one common helpline number will facilitate in cutting down delays owing to dialing of a wrong number. Further, it was suggested that information regarding auto helpline should be made public so as to counter the growing menace of autos.

Another proposition was the convergence of all protective schemes launched by the various agencies of the state. Existence of schemes addressing same issues by different departments leads to unnecessary overlapping which results in confusion and wastage of resources.

A major obstacle that citizens face in approaching help is the lack of information, his/her rights and the procedure to be followed. In regard to this it was proposed that the police should also join in spreading awareness by using various media platforms like talk shows, radio, television and print media to inform people about procedures and how to approach help. Continuing with the above many NGO’s also requested to be educated on the police procedure for handling of cases so that they could function in an informed manner when acting on behalf of the police or otherwise in the field. Further, it was also advised that students should also be roped in to spread awareness.

Another major issue raised was how the newly recruited female police officers would be incorporated within the force and used as agents of change. In addition Mr. Yadav was asked to look into making a provision to provide recourse if police officers do not follow standard operating procedures. Important and often neglected issues of overloading of public transport and open urination were also raised. Role of police in controlling misuse of pornographic material was also raised. Another initiative suggested was the creation of a forum where sensitive senior officials meet with NGO’s to follow up on cases and perform random checks on progress of different cases.

The efforts undertaken by the Delhi Police may be a good start at reigning in the situation of insecurity but a constant effort is what is required to sustain and ensure the need for creating a safe Delhi. Another aspect is that with the passage of time we have somewhere forgotten that we are all responsible. In the pursuit of attaining justice for ourselves and our fellow citizens the blunt truth of our collective shortcomings got blurred and we (as individuals and organisations) developed the habit of blaming others. No independent body can alone shoulder the onus of providing or making the city safe. It is ‘US’ who has to come and work together without the distinction of departments, personal or organisational ambit, jurisdiction, or being a civilian, activist or politician.

We are all collectively accountable for what we do and what we see. This dream of a safe city and a safer nation can only be achieved by pooling in resources and working in sync with different departments/agencies and most importantly with one another.


How good is pressure when that is the only reason behind an effort? But then, there is effort and effort shows action, say all I know. How long, is all I ask, till there is pressure? Is this not a farce?

I do not deny that the intention of the leaders of our country or their commitments are not genuine, I have no way to prove it! The cynicism is born out of a constant apathy which overshadows a few momentous days of uproar and call for change- Which happens through incidents, every once in a while. I hope this one proves my observation wrong.


No I am not. A cynic.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Delhi Police Week 2013 Launch of Booklets: 'Stop Violence AgainstChildren' and 'Aap ka Adhikar'

By Ishita Aggarwal - Intern (Centre for Social Research)
The ‘Delhi Police Week 2013’ displayed some amazing initiatives by Delhi Police in a bid to make the city safer for not just its women but also its children. Two booklets, ‘Stop Violence Against Children’ and ‘Aap ka Adhikar’ (stop violence against women), were released under the Delhi Police “Bas Aur Nahin” initiative, giving a strong message of no-tolerance of violence against women and children.

Ms. Suman Nalwa, Head, Special Police Unit for Woman and Children, Delhi, voiced her concern over the city’s level of safety and expressed her sincere desire to make Delhi “a safe city for one and all”. “We welcome all criticisms as well”, she said. This in itself is a sea-change in the overall interaction and attitude of police with respect to citizens. Ms. Nalwa and Mr. Sudhir Yadav, Special Commissioner of Delhi Police (Traffic), together wished to see support flow from both ends viz. police and public, in order to further mutual enhancement.

A special exhibit of self-defence skills by a group of trained young girls and women showed martial arts techniques to enable enhancement of the ‘Safety Quotient (SQ)’ for women. It empowered women to use these techniques to prevent themselves from attempted sexual or other criminal assaults. This has built a team of over 90,000 children and women, from all age groups, in the city, who are now living more confident lives. Live examples of some such trained women spoke about how the training has truly altered their perspective of safety and self-confidence. They are now ready to break bones if anybody lays a finger at them, literally so.

Chief Guest of Honour, Smt. Shanta Sinha, Chairperson, National Commission of Child Rights, rightly raised her concern over the lack of knowledge which common citizens have with regard to Police procedures and complaint filing. She wanted the image of the Police to be that of a friend to the mind of a child rather than that of a monstrous-authority. She said that if children and Police partner, it will not just change Delhi, it will change the entire country, and what will emerge will be “a new Delhi and a new country”.

Dr. Smt. Kiran Walia, Minister of Social Welfare Department, Women & Child, Languages, upheld the extreme importance of ensuring public sensitization over social issues. Without public awareness realities would not change. Laws and Acts have not been able to stop dowry and female foeticide, neither have the police or hospitals been able to stop these crimes. The major initiative needs to generate from the public. It was indeed gratifying to see genuine attempts coming from the part of our law enforcers. It will only make the desired difference if we too as civil society members and responsible citizens make that conscious attempt at bridging the gap between police and public and join forces for a safer Delhi and a safer country.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law

Justice Verma recommends:
  • No death penalty even in the rarest of rare rape case
  • Do not lower juvenile age from 18 to 16 years
  • Raise minimum sentence from 7 to 10 years
  • Form a new constitutional authority like the CAG to deal with issues
  • Life imprisonment should mean ‘the entire natural life of the convict’

Download the Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Special Task Force to Look into Safety Issues of Women in Delhi

Government has constituted a Special Task Force headed by Union Home Secretary to look into the safety issues of women in Delhi and review the functioning of Delhi Police on an ongoing basis.

The Task Force under the Chairmanship of Union Home Secretary will have the Chief Secretary, Delhi, Commissioner of Police, Delhi, Special CP(Traffic), Delhi Police, Special CP (Law & Order), Delhi Police, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, Chairperson, NDMC, Transport Commissioner, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, Commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Commissioner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Excise Commissioner, GNCTD and Joint Secretary (UT) as Members.

The Task Force may co-opt any such Member ,Task Force may deem fit. The Task Force will also take into consideration the suggestions made by the Members of the Parliament during the debate on the issue. The Task Force shall continuously review action taken by the Delhi Police and Delhi Government.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

No Country for Women

By Amitabh Kumar, Head of Media Department - Centre for Social Research
On Christmas Eve, I had the privilege of picking up my baby sister and heading out to our kickboxing class. Isn't it a proud moment for every brother, when his little sister thinks he is cool enough to hang out with? So yes, I was really happy especially as it came after a week of shouting slogans, dodging water cannons and avoiding police batons, so in my view it was time to share smiles with my little one.

As our conversations ensued I asked how her how her classes were going, as well as a bit of general chit chat. We then turned to the week that had just been with protests over the horrific attack and questions we now asked ourselves. Questions we now felt burdened with. Should we be praying for the victim? What should be done about the rapists? What sort of conviction should be expected?

In an innocent tone, my sister asked me "Bhaia, what is the solution?" I had tears in my eyes as I managed to blabber out a few thoughts just to keep my voice from breaking. So what is the solution? For this young girl, who was born in front of my eyes, who is so precious to me, how can I ensure her safety? What can I possibly say to put her concerns at ease? How do I answer such questions now that I've come to terms with the fact that this is no country for a woman?

The streets of Delhi are a war zone for women. The stares, the groping hands, the lewd comments. No matter how rich or poor you are, no mater how young or old you are, no matter what you wear, whether you are alone or in the company of friends, you are always a target. A moving target. We deny it to a large extent and yes we let the perverted stairs fly by. But why?

When did we start turning a blind eye to this treatment afforded to our mothers, sisters, daughters and loved ones? How can we, as men, argue that it’s a "women’s issue"? Despite the advances made by our country in terms of economics and liberalizing norms, the threats women face here remain a daily burden they often carry on their own. Is it not time that we focus on this issue and share the burden?

Why not teach social etiquette in schools, why not talk about sex more openly so that the men of India and Bharat look at women as equal human beings rather than sexual objects? We must take a clear and open stand against rape as the most brutal crime as it is our only hope of moving forward. Our own vocabulary needs to be overhauled as well with the words we choose to describe the ways in which women are assaulted sexually. No woman ever asks for it.

The last week has been a shameful week for us all. We failed, at so many levels, so let us hope that we can unite and take sustainable steps towards a safer capital and country. We are angry and we feel helpless, but the only way to change this is by ensuring that the officials we elected to govern in fact do their job and are held accountable without forgetting to keep our police officers on their toes. But first, we must admit that we have ignored our own job lately, because it’s a hard one.

As citizens we created this city, its infrastructure is our concern and no one else can improve it. So in this New Year, let us make a collective resolution for 2013. Let us resolve to act on our thoughts, to keep both our public officials and ourselves accountable. It may not be too late, but we need to work very hard.

- A heartbroken Delhi boy.