NEW DELHI: About eight years ago, Neelam Devi, a domestic help, saved a 10-year-old girl in her neighbourhood from being kidnapped. Later, she helped a rape victim file a police complaint and supported her during the legal process.
Today, the lady is a known face and name in her neighbourhood for helping victims of rape, kidnapping and sexual assault. The 43-year-old said she has never been to school but has been “working under difficult circumstances to support victims by going along with them to courts” along with her friend Rita.
The two ladies live in a huge slum area in outer Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy area. “There are all sorts of criminal activities happening all the time and women and children certainly are the worst sufferers,” Neelam told this newspaper. “These people (criminals) threaten us and our families for raising voice against their wrong-doing. I married off my daughters at an early age to save them from these men,” she lamented.
Neelam and Rita are two of those men and women, who were awarded by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on International Women’s Day for women activism and social service. The award ceremony marked the final day of the 13-day Mahila Suraksha Padyatra in the national capital.
Winners unique on their own
The winners include Taniya Saniyal, the first female firefighter employed by AAI; BSF mahila bikers; Captain Shikha Surbhi, Indian Army’s first female stunt rider.