How to Be Safe in Delhi as a Student

How to Be Safe in Delhi as a Student

How to Be Safe in Delhi as a Student? Ever since the horrific Nirbhaya case in 2012, Delhi’s reputation has rapidly plummeted in terms of women’s safety. The case happened in Munirka (in South Delhi) where a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and tortured in a private bus by the driver and his six friends. Her male friend was also beaten and thrown on the roadside for trying to protect the girl. It has been eight years since then and the girl’s family is still fighting for justice in court. The case scared many parents who wanted to send their daughters to Delhi for higher education.

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Then, the live news stream of protests by students of JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia for one reason or the other and following news stories about police brutality on students sound scary to parents who want their children to take admitted in ‘big and reputed’ Delhi colleges and universities. CAA protest rallies as well as rallies to support CAA that sparked Delhi riots add to this fear in students and their parents.

Still, Delhi is the capital of India. It is the biggest metropolitan city of North India with a rich wealth of highly reputed educational institutions. Besides the government colleges, many private colleges in the Delhi NCR region attract students because of the exceptional quality of education and exposure they offer. Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Greater Noida together house almost all the industry giants in India (and multinational brands with their origins in abroad). They offer excellent opportunities to students during campus placements. The quality of education and the job prospects available in Delhi are equivalent to study abroad courses which are quite expensive relatively.

The quality of college directly impacts one’s job prospects. It affects the academic training students receive, the network of peers and alumni they can benefit from, access to placements and jobs in some of the best companies, and their lifetime earnings and learning opportunities.

In this article, we will discuss the actual scenario for a student in the Delhi NCR region and suggest ways for students in Delhi use to remain safe.

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Female Students tend to Choose Safety Over College Ranking

The 2015 report by the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), Delhi mentioned that Delhi has the highest crime rate of rapes (23.7 per 1,00,000 women). The national average rate of rape is 5.7 per 1,00,000 women. It is not a surprise that Delhi is also shamefully referred to as the ‘rape capital of India.

A 2017 study by Girija Borker analysed data from 40 Delhi University colleges to measure how much the fear of street harassment impacts the choice of college for women students in Delhi. It found that 72% of female students in Delhi avoid going to an unsafe area. 67% of female students avoid going out of their hostels (or campus area) after dark.

She also found that women were more likely to choose a lower-ranked college that falls on a safer route than a higher-ranked one which is not considered safe enough. Women are also willing to spend more on travelling or spend more time travelling for safety purposes. The broker found that women are willing to spend as much as Rs 20,000 more on travelling per year which is almost double the average tuition fee at Delhi University per annum. Women are also ready to spend as much as 40 minutes more on travel time on routes they perceive as more secure.
The study also found that the Delhi Metro was considered to be the safest travel mode by female students in Delhi. 86% of female students prefer to travel in the women’s compartment of the Delhi metro. Buses were considered the least secure way of travelling in Delhi for women. However, now that the Delhi government has hired ‘marshals’ to ensure women’s safety in buses and allowed the facility of ‘free travel for women’, more female students are using public buses to travel to colleges once again.

Muslim Students are Hiding their Religious Identity after the recent Delhi Riots

After clashes between anti-CAA and pro-CAA protesters took a communal turn, Muslim students across the Delhi NCR region are experiencing paranoia and fear. While talking to MyEducationWire, Israr Khan shared that after he shifted from Sarita Vihar (a Hindu-dominated area) to Jamia Nagar (a Muslim-dominated area) as he feels safer here. Shoaib who lives in Madanpur Khadar also shared, “My neighbours are usually sweet and interact freely with us. But after violence erupted in Northeast Delhi, they started giving us cold shoulder. Our landlady suggested that we should shift to a Muslim-dominated area for our safety. We thought it was best to shift to Noor Nagar where Muslims live in greater numbers.”

Zoya and her younger sister live in the Subhadra colony. They have stopped wearing hijab since the riots to hide their religious identity. Her friend Shaiba said, “We are the only Muslim family here. Earlier, our neighbours would call out ‘Salaam out to us. They would smile at us and greet us when they saw us. But now people are ignoring us. We try to be at our best behaviour with them and avoid getting in any conflict with our neighbours.”

Some students pretend to be Hindu when they rent a room in a Hindu-dominated area.

Shadaab is one of them. She goes by the name of Sonu in the area he lives in. He shared, “I have to be careful how I dress up and how I speak. I wear earrings now and avoid using words like ‘Khuda Hafiz’ and ‘Assalamualaikum’ etc. when I talk to my relatives on the phone.”

Most Muslim students feel safer when they mingle with the crowd. Male students avoid wearing white caps or keeping beards that reveal their identity as Muslims. Female students feel safer in dressing up without burqas and hijab. The general sentiment in Muslim students is that Delhi seemed open to them before the riots but after the recent violence, they are feeling insecure. They are betting on safety in numbers though.

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