Rickshaw drivers learn to respect women in India's 'rape capital'

Up to 40,000 male rickshaw drivers have attended the courses in Delhi

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The Independent Online

Thousands of male rickshaw drivers in Delhi are going on courses to learn how to respect their female passengers, after the city was dubbed “India’s rape capital”.

Common problems women report include inappropriate touching, wolf-whistling and patronising behaviour.

But all that could be a thing of the past if enough drivers attend a charity’s classes on how to respect and interact with women.

40,000 rickshaw drivers have already participated in the course and it is hoped that more will follow over the coming months.

Narotan Singh, 37, is just one rickshaw driver who has attended the sessions.

“When I was told that we have to do this training, I was not happy as I thought it was an unnecessary waste of my time - time which I could use to make some money by picking up passengers,” he said.

 

"But when I went into the training and understood the problems faced by women on Delhi's streets and that I had the ability to change this, I realised that this is something that everyone should know about.”

The Manas Foundation and Delhi’s transport department have jointly set up sessions to educate the drivers on gender sensitivities.

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Indian auto-rickshaw drivers listen as an instructor shows an image of the protests that followed a gang rape at a gender sensitisation class

After a number of rapes and assaults on women across the country, there has been an outcry for the authorities to take steps to protect women. Police have been pushing for tougher sentences against the culprits of attacks.

A turning point in the campaign for greater awareness of the violence women face was the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old on a Delhi bus in December 2012, which received significant press coverage.

Additional reporting Reuters

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