Delhi Underground

Focus shifts

Before last year's gangrape incident, Delhi Police had put up posters and boards outside police stations to spread awareness about various measures taken to protect women and children. Featuring portraits of five women at different stages of life — child, teenager, woman, working woman and an old lady — the brightly coloured posters grabbed the attention of passersby. Police wanted to project a "protective and caring" image towards the city's women. The message on the poster was: "Jeevan ke har mod par, hum aapke saath hain (at every step in life, we are with you)". The official email address of then Police Commissioner B K Gupta and numbers of women's helpline and anti-stalking cell also featured on the billboards. However, after the December 16 Delhi gangrape, the billboards have been removed from most police stations. Police has hired celebrities, including actor-director Farhan Akhtar, to improve its image. In the Delhi Police advertisement, Akhtar's message is: "Indians and Delhiites, protect and respect women".

Subdued celebration

Valentine's Day celebrations in Delhi University were somewhat subdued. The annual tradition of Hindu College, involving worship of Damdami Mai (Goddess of Love), believed to reside on the college premises at the V (virgin) Tree, witnessed a change this year. Every year, an actress is worshipped as Damdami Mai. A few days before February 14, students said apart from an actress, a Hindi film actor will also be worshipped this year. However, following protests by some students who called the tradition discriminatory, they decided not to portray any individual as gods. Instead, they celebrated the occasion as one of togetherness and gender equality.

To be or not to be

Some confusion between Health department and DDA led to rumours of at least 23 new "medical establishments", including leading hospitals and diagnostic chains, were entitled to provide free treatment to the poor under the EWS scheme. Health department had written to the DDA seeking details of any hospital that was built on government land "years ago", apart from the existing 36. The DDA reply was received recently. It named these 23 establishments. Health department promptly sent letters to the establishments named in the list, informing them that they must provide free treatment to the poor. While most of these institutes said these rules did not apply to them as they had bought the land from government in an auction, others asked for more time. The DDA later told the Health department that the auctioning process had indeed been followed for land sold after 2003, so the rules for giving free treatment to the poor didn't apply there. The list of 23, was thus cut down to one, even as the rest of the "identified" private establishments were still drafting their replies.

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