Millennium Post

With little or no guards outside ATMs, city women feel unsafe

Serpentine queues are now the new normal across various ATMs and bank branches across the Capital, as the citizens continue to reel under the cash crunch due to the demonetisation move. While many have castigated the Central government’s lack of planning in implementing the move, a crucial aspect has been left out — security of women.

Across many dark swathes of the Capital, women are vulnerable targets as single mothers and young girls without any male members in their families have to stand outside ATMs to withdraw money.

While talking to Millennium Post, several women narrated their ordeal as to how without proper security, they remain a vulnerable target. “My father is paralysed from the waist down. This was after an accident four years ago. Now I have to do the majority of the household chores. With the demonetisation move, I have been forced to stand outside these queues; there is no security in the area except for one guard outside the Punjab National Bank ATM in my neighbourhood. There are many unsavoury characters in my locality and if anything untoward happens then who will be responsible?” asked Anita Devi, a 23-year-old beautician from Seelampur.   The main issue for several of these women is the fact that cash is sometimes deposited by the bank branch at odd hours. A case in point is the HDFC and Indian Bank ATMs near Dwarka Sector-10. The cash is deposited at 11.30 pm and only one guard mans the spot.  “I am a single mother and have to look after two of my daughters. My eldest is in high school while the younger one is still in nursery. I am in need of money to meet their expenses. There is only one guard posted at the spot and he helps the people out with the transactions. I have to stand outside for at least 45 minutes and there is no police in sight,” said Protichi, who works in a local school.

When the Delhi Police were contacted, they chose to pass the buck onto the private security of the banks, claiming that enough security has been deputed. 

“The main responsibility of the security outside these ATMs belongs to the bank itself and they have deputed security guards as per their requirement. But this is not true that police are not deputed. In Dwarka area, there are regular patrols by PCR vans and if there is any untoward incident, we act immediately. So far, we have not received any complaint,” said a senior police official from South-west district. Confirming the same, one of the bank guards posted at Dwarka Sector 10, on the condition of anonymity said: “There are times when I have felt that there must be at least three guards. People are quick to blame us but they can’t imagine our hardship.”
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