Swati Maliwal has a long roster of enemies. But in a town where a rape is reported every four hours, she replies: Individual has to raise their voice
The fact my automobile has arrived at the road, it would already be known, Swati Maliwal replies as her Delhi government vehicle coasts along GB Road, a strip of hardware and machinery shops at street grade, and dark-windowed brothels above.
The pimps have their peoples watching, calling, she replies, motioning at the tea stalls and hawkers lining the street. Nobody appears to pay the car any placard in Delhis afternoon traffic, but in the past year Maliwal has had to learn to see enemies everywhere.
As the youngest ever commissioner for women, in one of the most hazardous cities for women in “the worlds”, she has made a long roster of them.
At firstly I was shocked, the 32 -year-old replies of being asked to become chairmen of Delhis commission for women( DCW) in mid-2 015. I believed this post didnt truly have any powers.
Government watchdogs including for minorities, lower castes and backward world-class abound in Indias state and national bureaucracies, but many are considered toothless. Delhis womens committee including with regard to is derided as a parking lot for politicians.
Then Maliwal, a former activist, actually read the decades-old legislation that governs the status of women watchdog. I was shocked again, she says.
Though the powers had never been used, the commission could do more than only publicise cases or recommend changes: it is able to order other departments to turn over info, and summon anyone it chose, even Delhis most senior police officials, for civil examination. And if that info or those people arent furnished, we have the power to issue arrest warrants, Maliwal says.
In the 18 months since that breakthrough, Maliwal has refashioned the DCW into a crusading organisation, taking on the cases of about 12,000 of the women who cable the faded dormitories outside her agency every day, and pushing occasionally forcing police and government departments to dedicate a true picture of womens safety in the capital.
One of the first things she tried was the sentence rate in alleged crimes against women around Delhi. For a period of six months the police refused to give us this information, she says.
We issued a written notice, and they told us it would cause a law and order problem if they gave us the data regarding crimes against females. We did not back up and we summoned the security forces commissioner. After which the data came.
The statistics showed that more than 31,000 crimes against females had been registered under the police in the two years to 2014. Of those, only 146 less than half of one percent had resulted in convictions.