New Delhi: More police personnel, deployed at check-points and on motorbikes and patrol vehicles, can be noticed late at night in the South Delhi area where the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist was gang-raped a year ago, but fear still lurks among the people.
Police barricades, patrol vehicles and street lighting is visible at night around the area where the woman and her male friend were on that fateful night a year ago.
A few women and men commuters that this IANS correspondent met said that though police presence has increased, they still feel fear remembering the Dec 16 gang rape.
A visit to Munirka area, where the young woman and her male friend had boarded the bus on that fateful night, showed that streets and bus-stops were well lit around 11 p.m.
Tina, a 27-year-old Manipuri woman who resides in Munirka, said she cannot forget the day the incident occurred.
"I usually avoid going out late at night. Today, I got late because I went to attend a marriage ceremony of one of my friends," Tina told IANS.
Her rented accommodation is just a few metres away from the bus-stop from where the gang rape victim boarded the bus with her male friend.
The woman was raped by five men and a juvenile in a moving private bus Dec 16 last year. The men dumped her and her male friend on the road - bloodied and without clothes after nearly an-hour-long ordeal.
She battled for her life for 13 days in Delhi before being flown to Singapore where she died.
Aniket, a 18-year-old lower division clerk at Central School in Katwaria Sarai, was seen by this IANS correspondent around midnight, waiting for a bus at the same Munirka bus stop. Despite the police presence, Aniket said he always fears being robbed while travelling at night.
Sajid Ansari,a 48-year-old employee of a private company, was travelling in a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus that goes by that route.
Ansari told IANS that the gang rape is still fresh in his mind. He said he prefers not having to travel at night but has to do so because of his changing shift duty.
"I have no option but to travel at night. But I do believe that security has improved in comparison to last year," Ansari said.
All the people IANS spoke to said they were scared of taking public transport like buses or auto-rickshaws late at night and would try on most days to get back home by 9 p.m.
Police were seen manning barricades every five kilometres, while some whizzed by on motorcycles or in Police Control Room (PCR) vans.
Taking a bike ride late at night in south Delhi, especially from the Munirka bus stop to roads in Vasant Vihar and Katwaria Sarai areas and near Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), this IANS correspondent saw several policemen but hardly any women at the bus-stops.
During the night journey till around 3.30 a.m., the correspondent saw nine police patrol vehicles, five police vans and four police motorbikes each with two policemen - in the area falling in the jurisdiction of Vasant Vihar police station that handled the Dec 16 case.
The police motorbikes were seen covering the areas of Mahipalpur, Ber Sarai, Katwaria Sarai, JNU campus, Nelson Mandela Marg and others along the way.
Kanhaiyalal, a police constable in the area, told IANS that patrol vehicles start work from 11 p.m. and continue throughout the night. After 11 p.m., most of the buses had around 10-12 people, but there were no women.
An officer on patrol said that during night duty, the policemen have been told to specially check buses and ask passengers if they were feeling apprehensive about anything or facing any problems.
"We also check the night buses to see if they have home guards (an auxiliary police force)," the officer said.
During a journey on a night DTC bus travelling between New Delhi railway station to Chhatarpur, this IANS correspondent however saw only one home guard.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)