THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One year has passed since the gruesome rape and murder of Soumya. Those who believe that the shocking incident proved an eye-opener to the authorities, it is time to re-think. In a survey conducted by Sakhi Women’s Resource Centre, 86 per cent of women feel that there was no visible improvement in the situation over the past one year. Eighty per cent of men who took part in the survey too felt the same. The survey was conducted among train passengers in the first week of February. Soumya was raped on February 1 last year and she succumbed to her injuries on February 6.
As many as 1,181 train passengers took part in the survey. Of these, 85 per cent were women and 15 per cent were men. As many as five questions and a suggestion column were included in the survey. Eighty-eight percent women and 69 per cent men demanded a bigger compartment for women.
Many feel that ladies compartment at the tail end of the train was a major security issue. Ninety per cent women and 88 per cent men wanted the ladies compartment in the middle position. In order to differentiate it from the other compartments, 76 per cent women and 74 per cent men preferred giving it a different colour. On the query about the need for additional security, 97 per cent women and 92 per cent men said it was needed. Some have suggested alarms instead of emergency chains.
Only 44 per cent women are aware of the railway helpline number 9846200100. Men are more aware of the facility. About 50 per cent of the men are aware of the helpline number.
However, only 10.69 per cent women and 17 per cent men have used the helpline service. Of these, only 46 per cent feel that they got good response. Half of the men too felt that the helpline service responded effectively. Some even suggested shortening of the Rail Alert number. Proper display of the number on trains and even in tickets too were mooted by those who took part int the survey.
Half of the women feel that waiting rooms were safe. However, 63 per cent feel they were not clean. Also 77 per cent feel that toilets were unclean. About 97 per cent feel that a sanitary napkin vending machine was a necessity at the waiting room. Only 23 per cent has seen a complaint box at the waiting room.
Some of the major suggestions came up during the interaction with the commuters are the deployment of more women/men police personnel for security, strict bar on unauthorised vendors and beggars inside the train, strict punishment for offenses and speedy redressal of complaints.
Some even said that there was no need for a separate ladies compartment and instead demanded reservation in general compartments. Demand for proper lighting at railway stations and intercom facility in ladies compartment to contact TTR/helpline too came up.
The survey results were presented at a meeting here on Tuesday in the presence of A Sampath MP, Intelligence ADGP T P Senkumar, poet and activist B Sugathakumari, Sakhi director Eliyamma Vijayan among others.