At midnight on Monday, more than 200 women took to the streets in Delhi to participate in a five-kilometre "Fearless Run". The midnight run was organised at Delhi's Connaught Place, in an attempt to reclaim public spaces of a city described as one of the most unsafe in the world for women.
The unique initiative, organised by Delhi Police and a Delhi-based NGO, the United Sisters Foundation, was flagged off by Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Chaudhury and social activist and acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.
Speaking to NDTV, Ms Agarwal said, "It's a very good initiative and when more women see me and all the others out on the streets at 1 AM, they too will be inspired. It's heartening to see that more and more women are becoming fearless." On the issue of security, she said that while the police had shown their support, "it would be nice to see the support from police more often".
The Delhi Police spoke about the safety initiatives taken by them and the helpline numbers for women. They also talked about the mobile app for women safety "Himmat Plus". Speaking on these initiatives, Laxmi Agarwal said, "The number of helplines or apps launched by the police won't make a difference until we see more awareness among the police personnel or support from them".
Women and girls from across age groups took part in the midnight run and were joined by several women personnel of the Delhi Police. Also, several men from a cycling club from Indirapuram near Delhi accompanied their wives, daughters and friends on their bicycles.
"The Fearless Run is a midnight-run of 5 Kms. It's the symbol of reclamation & empowerment. Every woman participant learns that they can roam freely in all spaces irrespective of time," Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police in New Delhi district tweeted. "Today we must forego the stereotype of a woman being confined to the indoors after dark," he said.