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Lovebirds in Delhi have nowhere to go
Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi | October 14, 2003 15:46 IST
Last Updated: October 15, 2003 01:20 IST
Young couples in Delhi are angry.
And who can blame them? The capital has few locations where they can cosy up without fear of harassment.
Dressed in a blue uniform, Ram Singh told them with a smile: "Control yourself."
Leaning on his lathi, he continued, "Kyun aisa karte hain aap log? Ghar jayeye (Why do you do all this? Go home)."
Singh is one of the seven guards posted at the tomb. An employee of a private security firm he gets Rs 3,500 every month for an eight-hour shift at the tomb.
The Archaeological Survey of India, which maintains the 18th century monument, has hired the security agency to maintain 'law and order.'
Singh's job is to protect couples from criminals and see that they do not "cross limits."
"It looks bad because lots of tourists come here. Some come with their families and feel embarrassed by the sexy scenes," he says.
Security in public parks and historical monuments like the Buddha Garden, Purana Qila and Lodhi Gardens has been increased after four members of the elite President's Bodyguard raped a college girl in Buddha Garden last week.
Some couples visit the parks for the privacy it offers. Many others are voyeurs or sex workers.
"Security has been provided to maintain law and order," Deputy Commissioner of Police Tajender Luthra said. "We have to ensure safety to the visitors."
Policemen patrol some parks where private security guards are not posted.
There are criminals, some visitors say, but policemen and the security guards are as intimidating.
When Sandeep (name changed) went to the Buddha Garden with his girlfriend last fortnight a policeman asked the couple for their names and addresses.
Scared, both gave false names and addresses. Later he asked for their phone numbers. The policeman threatened to give their parents a call.
Sandeep and his girlfriend pleaded with the policeman not to call their parents. The policeman then began lecturing the couple on morality and asked them not to come to the park again.
"There could be isolated incidents," Luthra said, "I will look into it."
Gardeners at the Lodhi Gardens say young couples are often harassed. "I have never seen policemen harassing couples but a lot of criminals do it. Sometimes we help the girls go home," one gardener said.
"These couples do not have the courage to complain because the matter will then reach their parents," he added.
"We come here to have a good time," a student at the Safdarjung Tomb said. "Nowadays it is becoming difficult. But if you have confidence and some money it can be managed."
"There should be a place exclusively for us. After all, where will we go?" he asked.
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