The city of Gurgaon, just south of Delhi, India, wants to install closed circuit television cameras in all of the city’s buses.
The idea is to deter sexual violence and other types of crime.
Anchor Marco Werman hears more about the plan from Pamposh Raina, a journalist at the New York Times’ Delhi bureau.
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Marco Werman: I’m Marco Werman. This is The World. The gang rape that sparked so much outrage in India recently took place on a bus in Delhi and this weekend there was a report of another gang rape involving a bus, this time in the Northern Indian state of Punjab.
These cases may be forcing a rethink when it comes to bus security in India, or at least in the city of Gurgaon, just south of Delhi. Officials there are planning to install closed-circuit cameras on city buses and at some bus stops. The idea is that the cameras would work to deter crime and help in the prosecution of perpetrators.
Pamposh Raina lives in Gurgaon and works for the New York Times bureau in Delhi. She says technology alone won’t solve any problems.
Pamposh Raina: There has to be a setup where people who are monitoring the situation or the footage is being recorded actually is being monitored 24/7 by trained officials.
Werman: Hasn’t the city of Gurgaon built monitors into this proposal, people who will be the watchers?
Raina: There is a proposal that; yes, there will be people monitoring it. But my concern is the actual implementation. If there are trained officers who actually monitor the situation and take action, then the step can make a lot of difference. But if trained officials are not in adequate numbers to take on this additional task, then that could be a problem and then it could just be a function of adding another level of security which probably will not be half as effective as they want it to be.
Werman: Do any areas around Delhi use CCTV’s already, where it is effective?
Raina: All the national monuments, all the government buildings, they have CCTV cameras already built in. So there are security officials on duty who are always monitoring the footage that is recorded there. It is not that this is a new step for Gurgaon, or for Delhi, or, for that matter, any metropolitan city in India, or any big city in India. I think the challenge here is to find officers who can actually monitor it constantly, especially in areas where cases of sexual assault have been reported in large numbers.
Werman: What about on the Metro, the underground subway (that you regularly use, I understand)? Do they have CCTV’s there?
Raina: Yes. I think the surveillance on the Metro, the subway, is very good. Because all the time, there is a heavy presence of security officials, police officials. So they seem to be on the guard, but the one thing I would say they should sort of â€˜step up’ is the presence of female officers. Because if you’re traveling late at night and you see male police officials, that’s not very reassuring often because as a woman, I don’t feel very comfortable or very confident walking up to a policeman and actually talking to him and relating any episode of sexual assault which I might have encountered because there’s just no understanding and there’s no sensitization among the police force to a large extent, especially men. I don’t think they are sensitive to what a woman goes through when she undergoes a situation as happened recently in Delhi which was the gang rape case.
Werman: Pamposh, I gather you don’t travel much on the buses around Delhi. Why not?
Raina: I’ve taken buses before but now I wouldn’t feel safe on a bus because they’re too overcrowded. There’s no way that you can be on your guard and make sure that there’s nobody who’s standing next to you and trying to harm you in some way or trying to actually molest you. Because no matter what, you will always be sort of pushed; somebody will try to feel you up. Somebody will try to sort of nudge you, and it’s always a man.
Werman: So Pamposh, I saw another report, unbelievably, of another gang rape that started on a bus this past weekend and continued in a home. And it seems it happens a lot and the rapists sense some kind of impunity. What would make you ultimately feel safer in Delhi.
Raina: I think, first of all, the police force has to make a concerted effort to sensitize the officials who are on duty. As I said before, whenever a crime of such a nature is committed, a woman who has been victimized does not feel comfortable enough walking into a police station and registering a complaint: because of the kind of questions that she is asked at the police station; because of the lack of understanding by the police officials of what she might have gone through; because they are not sensitive enough to understand the trauma of a rape victim or a victim who has been sexually assaulted or molested. Right now, it just seems that they are very insensitive to such situations.
Werman: Journalist Pamposh Raina who works in Delhi and regularly takes public transportation. Thanks very much for telling about this plan to put closed-circuit TV on some buses there- appreciate your time.
Raina: You’re very welcome. It was a pleasure talking to you.
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