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Why the Anil Baijal-Kejriwal fight over CCTV cameras is pitted against Delhi residents

The safety of citizens, especially women, it seems, has been left to god.

 |  4-minute read |   17-05-2018
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In keeping with what has come to be a custom, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal have locked horns once again.

This time over the issue of CCTV cameras for Delhi, which National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data proves is the crime capital of the country.

kejri690_051518022057.jpgChief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy CM Manish Sisodia and AAP MLAs march towards the LG’s house in New Delhi.

And while we do not know who the real winner of this L-G-AAP battle would be, we do know that it is the average Dilliwala who stands to lose big time.

Sample this: Delhi is the most unsafe among 19 major cities in the country, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of reported rapes, 33 per cent of crimes against women and the highest crime rate in 2016. The city reported 13,803 cases of 41,761 of crimes against women in 2016, according to NCRB.

Nearly 40 per cent (1,996) of the rape cases in the 19 cities occurred in Delhi in 2016.

Delhi also has the dubious distinction of topping the NCRB list in cases of murder, kidnapping and abduction, juveniles in conflict and economic offences.

So while the L-G, chief minister and other AAP leaders (with their official security covers in place) fight it out on the roads and then some more on Twitter, the safety of Delhi residents, it seems, has been left to god.

Kejriwal has accused the L-G of "deceitfully paralysing" the AAP government's ambitious proposal to install 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras across Delhi. Installation of CCTV cameras was among the promises made by AAP before the 2015 elections to ensure enhanced security for women.

According to the AAP government, the plan is stuck with Baijal, who is not allowing the procurement of the cameras to begin. The L-G on his part has claimed that no such proposal has reached him.

On Monday (May 14), as the tussle over the issue escalated with Kejriwal and his MLAs, along with party supporters and workers, protested first by marching across the city and then staging a dharna in front of the secretariat of the lieutenant-governor.

While that battle is still on, it is pertinent to remind Delhi's lawmakers and administrators that the city with all its dark spots and crime-prone areas is awaiting their intervention.

The national capital is unsafe for its women, its elderly, its tourists and its children.

After anger over the gang rape and murder of December 16, 2012, almost all parties and political leaders promised to make Delhi a safer place. BJP, which was in the Opposition then, blamed the Sheila Dikshit-led government for playing with the safety of women. Hundreds of rape and molestation cases later, the sense of being unsafe in Delhi has only grown for women across age and class brackets. Delhi under special constitutional provisions is jointly administered by the state and central governments. With L-G representing the Centre in Delhi, it is appalling why BJP has not made efforts to keep its promise.

Many elderly people have been murdered within the safety of their homes.

But it seems that political one-upmanship is more important for those who occupy positions of power in the national capital than ensuring that girls who step out for school and women who step out for work feel safe through the day.

While CCTV cameras do not actually prevent a crime from happening what they can do is ensure the guilty are caught and punished. Thus, they become a potent tool to deter crime from happening.

In 2017, just around New Year's eve, woman was molested in a Bangalore alley. The incident was caught on CCTV camera, while it helped to draw attention to the vulnerability of women in India, it also helped nab the culprit.

But here in Delhi, politicians consider it more important to grab power than do what power behoves them to do.

While Kejriwal sits on the road in protest, while the L-G tweets his response to a chief minister protesting right outside his office, women in Delhi are getting raped, snatchers pulling women out of moving autos on the streets and children are being kidnapped and thrown into the human trafficking racket.

All this because those in power can't bury their hatchet and give Delhi its CCTV cameras. Governments often wreck monumental administrative tragedies on the very people they govern.

Also read: Is Delhi L-G Anil Baijal lying about CCTV cameras?


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