Residents of South Delhi wants a new name to get rid of BAD IMAGE

NEW DELHI : For hundreds of residents of Ravidas Camp, their address has become a stigma that is affecting their daily lives and relationships. Now notorious as the colony of the convicts of December 16 gang rape, the residents of the slum in RK Puram Sector 16 want the authorities to change its name.

“The gang rape case is a part of this camp’s history now. Our neighbourhood is notorious across the world. But why should the innocent residents face the consequences of this notoriety? We have decided to demand a new name for the camp,” Bihari Lal, the camp’s Resident Welfare Association president told Hindustan Times.

Lal said that he, and other representatives of the camp, had approached the district administration earlier this year with a request for a name change, but they were unable to go far. “We were told that the process was too complicated. We have also raised the demand with local politicians, but they don’t want to take up this cause because no one wants to be associated with our slum, which has 600 voters,” says Lal.

A 23-year-old physiotherapist was raped and murdered by a group of five men and a juvenile on board a moving bus on December 16, 2012. The families of four of the five rapists still live in Ravidas Camp. One of the rapists, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in March, 2013.

In the immediate aftermath of the gang rape, the residents had contemplated relocating. Some people had been attacking their homes, some even visiting with firecrackers. Even now, when a police vehicle passes by this camp, it sounds the siren, Ram Phool, an elderly resident, said.

“For the first six months, we lived in fear. Those who landed decent jobs and could afford another house, left the camp. But most of us have decided to stay back and undo the damage. Changing the camp’s name is the first step in that direction,” AK Mishra, a painter, said.

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