While putting forth her story of that horrifying night when she was chased by two drunk brats on the streets of Chandigarh, Varnika Kundu said, "I was afraid thinking what would happen next". Her words resonated with hundreds of young girls in Chandigarh.
Although considered a very well planned and efficiently managed city, Chandigarh had a very dark 2017 with a 10 year old rape victim giving birth in August, Varnika Kundu a local DJ being stalked late night on the streets of Chandigarh, Gang rape inside an auto rickshaw and a fresher at MCM DAV being kidnapped in front of the college in November.
The most (in)famous shunpike of Chandigarh, The Gehri route stretches from sector 8 to sector 11 that result in many cases of harassment and stalking. However the gehri route has new companion since the past few year, the MCM DAV college road.
Largely popular for its academic record, MCM DAV College for women is now battling the Gehri culture. Panjab University, GGDSD College and DAV College students flood the streets near MCM DAV in their luxury cars during the peak hours of the day and snail around eyeing students of MCM DAV College.
The problem is partly ideological and partly the lax civic management. Ehe college administration too has been writing regularly to the authorities. The police has set up a checkpoint near the college to keep a check on the cars passing the college.
Naseeb Singh, SHO sector 36 police station says, "We have deployed a PCR van near the College gate and it remains at the spot for most of the day. Our men regularly set up check points during peak hours and if any vehicle with 3 or 4 male passengers tries to cross we advise them to take a detour."
Late in November last year, a student of the college took to social media to narrate her tale. She said, "Walking from sector 36 market to the residential area near the college after dusk is nothing short of calling the demons upon one's self. As the street light don't operate properly I was chased down that road by a white Verna. They tried to stop the car in front of me maybe trying to kidnap me. Luckily the nearby Verka shops were open, so the car went away.
The student council of the MCM DAV College has been figuring out ways to counter such a menace. Sunchit Kapoor the President of the student council has been in regular talks with the management to figure out a way to end such encounters. "We will be taking this issue heads on in the coming months. The Chandigarh administration has to help us here. The more this issue is ignored the more ruckus it will create."
According to the students, the Gehri culture is on its peak but only a handful of cases have reached the police station. As per police records they were asked to intervene in no more than four cases of kidnapping, stalking and harassment since September of 2017 till the year ended.
With the dampening image of Chandigarh owing to its Gheri culture, and MCM DAV College for women falling prey to it, it is important that the administration of the city takes the cognisance of the issue and reacts immediately.