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Goondaraj - Woman attacked near Saket mall, New Delhi

By Insiyah Vahanvaty and Vandana Verma

Goondaraj – Delhi's shameful character exposed again

In the case above of Farheen Prabhakar, entrepreneur and actor, she was at the receiving end of an entire range of apathy that Delhi witnesses daily – unlawfulness, extreme prejudice against women, road rage violence, moral degradation, and above all extreme indifference which is the one key instigator of all of the other elements. Farheen was waiting at the traffic signal when a bunch of men, aged around 25 to 30, approached her car, hit her car from the back, they started thumping her car and hurling abuses at her which numbed her temporarily. One of the men then boxed her hard on the head and while she was disoriented they took advantage of her-grabbed her phone and wallet, all the time abusing her.

Rude Delhi ruder to its women
When they grabbed her wallet too, Farheen tried to chase them on foot but they got back into their van and scooted from the spot. Farheen kept screaming and clamouring for her help but not one soul on the road stirred, mute spectators as if to a drama unfolding on stage. This, not so unfamiliar, apathy is also something that Delhi has imbibed in its character today. The blow to her head rendered Farheen unconscious and she fell down in the middle of a rather busy road. This happened in broad daylight, around 11.30 am, when even legally you should feel most secure, at Saket Citywalk which is one of the busiest, well lit, well frequented areas of Delhi with sufficient number of police check posts.

What affected Farheen most was not that she was mugged, robbed and harassed in the wake of an apparently or visibly alert environment, but that the people around were blind to her state, her screams, her existence in the middle of a busy road with vehicles passing her by on either side determinedly unfazed by the entire ordeal. Farheen gathered herself and walked back to her car only to be hit by an asthmatic attack triggered by her stress. A tad belated, Farheen was helped to an inhaler and the number plate of the car of the assailants by a few passersby.

'Thak-Thak' gang knocking violently
Farheen was on the phone when this incident happened to her and so her friend on the other end of the line was a distant audience to the entire episode. She related later that the miscreants had not switched off the phone and had even more evil plans for her if it were later in the day which could be rape. Farheen has lodged an FIR and is currently in the process of identifying the criminals as she continues to have nightmares about her narrow escape from a graver trial. The gang has been identified as the 'Thak-Thak' gang and the culprits have been arrested but it will be a while before justice is done as Farheen continues to toggle between the court and police station.

What's also appalling is the blatant masochism that some of these miscreants experience in terrorizing and intimidating anyone at a disadvantage, especially the fairer sex, often unfairly dealt with. This raises a lot of questions, in our insecurity have we raised our walls of protection to insurmountable heights that are impermeable with ethics and morality or just basic courtesy. We are the reason that the traffic situation or parking pathos are as they currently are in the city – No, not because the roads aren't wide enough but because we care two hoots about lane driving, we give a damn about speed limits or traffic signals or the demarcation of roads and footpath. Are we not the reason that crime against is increasingly on the rise in our cities? Because we don't bat an eyelid in the face of blatant disregard?

Delhi – stuck in limbo or simply apathetic
You don't need whistleblowers, you need to be one and as clichéd as it may sound, today it was Farheen but you could be next victim and the naked truth staring at you is that no one will stop to lend a hand to you if you don't today. Again, the only element that is fuelling crime is our 'it's not my problem' attitude which needs to change if Delhi is to be a liveable place and not the degraded maximum city it apparently is. Wake up Delhi, your entranced state is killing you!


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