Any city is as safe as you’d want her to be in your mind. Yes. We will want to say Mumbai is ‘safer’ than Delhi. But is it? The number of crimes actually reported, detected, and overall the number of breach of security, safety of people actually leaves you wondering what a ridiculous premise we are defending- that Mumbai is one of the safest cosmo city in India.
We gloat that there aren’t so many instances of gang rapes in Mumbai. Do we even know the truth as regards crime? Well just read the number of rapes in the city on a daily basis, they out number the gang rapes number of Delhi. The violence against women, other citizens has increased many times. With the amount of slums in our city, I don’t think the police get half the number of crimes reported, forget detected.
This evening a couple walked out of Big Bazar, hand-in-hand. An on-coming Innova ran over this couple, the car driver sped, but was stopped by the Phoneix security & they were forced to take the injured couple to a nearby hospital. The bystanders mostly drivers helped the couple to get inside that Innova. The man’s skull was ripped & woman’s leg badly hurt. One will not know whether the man survived…or may be we will, but that’s not the point. Pl note the car sped away but was stopped by the security.
People are being robbed, mugged & threatened in Mumbai regularly. Most often the targets are women & senior citizens, the more vulnerable sections of society. Everyday at least 3-4 chain snatching incidents are reported. Women’s Bags/purses are stolen. I-Pods, cell phones robbed. Many just don’t have the time to report. And many more children are kidnapped. So many missing persons that it’s easy to kidnap, mug somebody.
Travails of local trains is another story. Male intruders just get inside women’s compartments-salesmen, including blind or wanting to sound politically correct, visually challenged, beggars, ones who just want cross over, the trains are never ending source of crimes. Well, they or any man shouldn’t be allowed inside women’s compartments. But this is tough to explain to the women themselves. With the women leading complex lives-wife, mother, daughter-in-law, struggling to fine balance its no surprise that this is taken in their stride as yet another ‘personal’ botheration.
Violence on local trains too has increased. More & more instances of molestation, which is daily. And most often others vociferously tell you it must’ve been a mistake, that would make you feel guilty for opening your mouth & yelling at the man who intruded in your space & ‘felt’ you. Being stalked or followed is so common nowadays that sadly women & more so men don’t realise its life-threatening, it is a breach of security. This happens so very often and women are scared to bits to lodge a complaint, worse still it’s brushed aside as ‘ignore such men’ & women are told treat it nonchalantly.
Often stalking culminates into a bigger crime. These stalkers usually attack those women, physically. And we have seen cases of acid attacks on women. Still acid is easily available without a prescription & can be bought over the counter. No on thinks of calling of more supervision.
Step out of your houses, whether in your own car or in taxis the safety on the roads of Bombay has worsened. There are more number of vehicles driving in the opposite direction on your side of the road. The constant tussle to overtake, at any cost, increases security risk. Road accidents have increased, road rage crimes have increased & so have deaths.
The city just doesn’t have facilities/amenities for senior citizens & physically challenged citizens. This in fact is is a time bomb ticking-to walk on our roads. Speeding vehicles, that give a damn & disrespect all traffic rules, signals & discipline. The footpaths are uneven, broken, tiles coming out & badly maintained. There are daily instances of accidents, falls, injuries. There are no proper measured descends, slopes or ramps. The ill-maintained infrastructure takes toll on an individual on a daily basis.
Living in Mumbai is Worse still is for old, single people. It is life-threatening for them. Many face life threats from their domestic helps. There have been instances, like my own professor from Elphinstone College- Meher Jussawala, a literature genius who was killed by her help. House breaks, attacks on old women, senior citizens has been on the rise. Daily such crimes are not only reported, but are on the rise. Committing Suicide is a crime & just the apalling numbers of suicides in Mumbai city. the cut-throat competition leaves many feeling worthless, depressed. Loneliness is a killer disease for many & in a city there is no psychiatric help, social-community help, binding time, the people are unable to grapple with the loneliness disease. The suicides are also getting violent. Women jumping of sky scrapers, throwing their children from the terraces. This is NOT safe.
Walking on the road has become doubly dangerous. The manholes are left uncovered, with no danger alert signs. The number of people falling down the manholes has increased. Yet the issue isn’t taken seriously. Road accidents have increased, drunk driving cases have been just reduced, but the roads are unsafe. The increasing amount of traffic breaches is life threatening to others, especially the commuters.
Now apart from these let’s understand many other social issues. Members of Minorities-Muslim especially are rudely turned down in private societies for buying property. They are seen as terrorists. Muslims are denied basic right for housing, they are forced to live in ghettos. We perpetuate labelling & community/profile mapping. All of which is danger poser, for the community to begin with. They are not safe, they are being labelled for perpetuating violence. This leads to more intensified reactions. Racial profiling, community profiling is NOT right & & lead to more social also security problems.
Worse still is Mumbai is now on international & domestic terror radar/map. We are told we may not experience another 26/11, but the 13/7 type blasts can’t be stopped. That’s how seriously yours & my life is being taken by those for whose salary we pay taxes. !!!!
While Indians are obsessed with Kasab’s hanging, there are still many more heinous, violent killers, conspirators either out on bail, or roaming freely out of this country & out of the reach for our authorities. They continue to run the operations of their gangs here, they still make many an extortion call, issues threats, there are shoot outs, and now even bump off journalists. The level of gang activity may have been obviously kept far from public eye, but it continues to thrive.
Lastly, but most important is the fact that the police presence isn’t so prominent on our streets. Worse still, thanks to the way the Mumbai police force has deteriorated in the last few years, that no one fears them. They are not taken seriously & there is no faith. Do I think we are safe? We are safe as any other city, nothing more, nothing less.