Delhi feels more unsafe, say foreigners
New Delhi: Thirty-year-old Hannah Backmeier from Germany is apprehensive about her safety every time she steps out of her hotel room in the national capital. The tourist arrived here with three female friends days soon after last December's brutal gang-rape when the nation was seized with anger and shock.
The sense of insecurity among women that gripped the city affected them too. Fearing that something could happen, one of her friends flew back after staying for just a week. "When we arrived here, the newspapers were full of the gang-rape news. My friend was very scared and left for home," Backmeier, a backpacker staying in the Paharganj area in central Delhi, told IANS.
"We decided to stay and luckily, nothing untoward has happened to us," said Nikola Brauer, Backmeier's friend. A visit this reporter made to markets thronged by foreign tourists and residential areas where foreign students live revealed that women were still apprehensive and not willing to trust anyone. "I often come to India for holiday and north Indian cities like Delhi, Haridwar, Pushkar are my favourites. Things have definitely changed for me after the Delhi rape," Sandra Portman, a backpacker from New Zealand, told IANS.
Portman, who too is staying in Paharganj, an area near the New Delhi Railway Station filled with budget hotels, said she is scared to venture out after sunset. "When I'm in Delhi, I don't venture out after sunset and I'm suspicious of everyone, be it the hotel guys or the auto driver," said Portman who was on her fourth visit to the city accompanied by three friends.