Anurdha Ganesh wanted to do something about the harassment faced by women in Gokulam, Mysore. On the 23rd of March, Anuradha Ganesh started the petition on Change.org calling on the Police Commissioner, Mysore to enhance police patrol to make her community safer for women.
Within days the petition gathered momentum with thousands of people signing it. This caught the attention of the media and the police commissioner. On the 15th of April, while responding to the Times of India article on the campaign, Police Commissioner KL Sudheer had promised to take immediate action on this issue.
On May 1, head of the V.V. Mohalla police station (covering Gokulam), visited Anu, on orders from the Police Commissioner in response to the petition. Circle Inspector S. Nagaraj explained that he was recently posted to our area and will focus on ensuring the safety of all women in Gokulam.
Mr. Nagaraj assured Anu that, when the shala reopens—timing to be determined and he actively communicates with Sharath and Saraswati—additional police will be deployed to ensure our safety. His plan, as conveyed to Anu, also includes several key tactics to increase safety and make the police more productive, including:
1. Sensitizing his police officers to be more people-friendly.
2. Increasing security after 3:30 a.m. when the big shala reopens.
3. Providing to us the procedure to follow when registering a complaint.
4. Ensuring that the ‘shalas’ in the area provide to the police the appropriate information on their students to enable that the police can provide adequate monitoring.
5. Forming a Gokulam Committee for Safety with the local residents.
Gokulam is a popular destination for yoga students from abroad who study at the various yoga shalas in the area. If the harassment and molestation of the women in the area during all hours of the day continues, the environment will become even more unsafe for women, fewer people will to come to Gokulam and India, and the reputation of the country and its culture will be damaged.
Ladies are attacked by men on scooters, groped, slapped in the face, and pushed about, and exhibitionists jerk off in front of them. A yoga student was nearly raped on her way to the 4:30 yoga class one morning. The neighbors rescued her at the last minute.
These despicable event are most frequent during the busy seasons of October to March, every single year. Visiting a foreign country to practice yoga in a beautiful neighborhood such as Gokulam, only to come face-to-face such violence is shocking, frightening, and traumatic for both foreigner yoga students and local female residents. It is just wrong.
We are continuing to do what we can on our end to make the environment safer, including:
(1) raising awareness within the community about the risks to walking around alone or even with someone,
(2) holding discussions with the yoga community on culture-sensitive behavior and attire,
(3) promoting self-defense tactics, and
(4) communicating with the yoga schools to change class timings and to provide other safety-promoting services to students.
Please help us by increasing police patrol of the area to end this unacceptable criminal behavior and abuse, and to make Gokulam safe for ALL women.