Booked solid for the next six months, Constable Renu said she has never been busier, as anxiety among women and girls grows with a stream of news headlines describing brutal assaults across the country, including recent national outrage after an 8-year-old girl was kidnapped, gang raped and murdered.
Since a 23-year-old woman, Jyoti Pandey Singh, was beaten, gang raped and fatally injured while riding a bus in the capital in 2012, women here have been on edge. That attack prompted intense soul-searching and a fierce public debate about an issue that, though long pervasive, was seldom addressed. It also gave many women the courage to come forward and demand justice in such assaults, rather than suffer in silence, too ashamed to speak up.
On a recent Tuesday morning, at the Navjeevan Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya school, widely known as NSKV, Constable Renu led about 180 girls, aged 11 to 17, through possible scenarios of men grabbing them from behind as they walked down the street, striking a blow to their heads or lunging for their necks. In each case, the girls responded with the moves they had been taught to deflect such attacks — grunting, kicking and punching in unison.