Nagaland Wants a “Rape-Free” India, So Its Citizens are Offering Women Free Rides at Night

Social Commentary

Nagaland Wants a “Rape-Free” India, So Its Citizens are Offering Women Free Rides at Night

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Making public spaces safe for women is one of the most fundamental goals towards achieving women’s safety. While the government and local law enforcement do their best to increase vigilance and make travel safe, the general public can also play its part. It is exactly what has happened in Dimapur, Nagaland, where some citizens have started a movement to offer free lifts to people in need of transportation at night.

What started as a Facebook post, turned into a citizen campaign for a “rape-free India in Dimapur. On October 12, Aneiba Thou’s Facebook post offering to pick up and drop any person facing difficulties at night was widely shared on social media.

“Any persons, elders, younger sister or a lady facing problems in transportation at night or any problems or not feeling safe at nearby areas, I am ready to help, so call or SOS me anytime 24X7. Just call and say I need your help, I’ll be there. We believe, together we can bring the change and we will change this… My dream of rape-free and safe India,” Thou wrote in his post.

The Facebook post turned into a chain reaction. Many others from the town also started putting up similar posts offering help. Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Thou, a constable at the Commissioner of Police’s office in Dimapur, shared that he saw a friend’s post offering help and was thus, encouraged to do so himself. “It is like a chain now, many are doing the same in Dimapur; anywhere, anytime, I am willing to help,” maintained Thou.

Thou has two daughters aged two and four, and his wife is a homemaker. He stated that he was willing to bear all expenses, not merely just time and fuel, to help those in need. He said that if he was busy, he would entrust a friend to go and help. When asked on how he would deal with prank calls, Thou said it would have to be assessed based on the phone call and situation.

“I am expecting a lot of prank calls or unnecessary avoidable situations or unnecessary avoidable situations but that is bound to happen and I am still willing to help in dropping even if they are drunk,” Thou said. He said that he wants his children to be brought up in a world with no crimes against women, and that he wants to raise awareness and help people to that effect.

While governments do their bit, it’s essential for citizens to raise their voice and help in every way possible. There will never be enough cops or jails to patrol every part of the country but if society gets together on this issue, then a tangible and impactful change is not far away. More power to Aneiba Thou, and citizen activists.